New Mexico lawmakers begin to file 2021 legislation proposals

Politics - Government

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – In two weeks, New Mexico lawmakers will meet for a long 60-day session. We’re getting an idea of which issues they want to tackle. We can expect a variety of legislation for this upcoming session, from pandemic relief to some controversial proposals.

On Tuesday, January 19, state lawmakers will begin their long 60-day legislative session. On Monday, lawmakers can start pre-filing legislation and we’re already seeing a broad range of proposals.

“In a 60-day session there are no limits on the topics that can be covered by legislation, so anything is on the table,” said Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D- Santa Fe).

Some lawmakers are sponsoring bills that would require each school to have a full-time nurse. Others would make hazing a crime. We also expect controversial bills to resurface this session, like legalizing recreational marijuana, climate change legislation on emissions, and an attempt to repeal the state’s 60-year-old abortion ban. But this upcoming session, there is expected to be some common ground among Republicans and Democrats.

“As far as pandemic relief, we have to really be intentional about how we spend those dollars,” said Rep. Rebecca Dow (R- Truth or Consequences). Both sides said their main focus will be helping New Mexicans recover from the pandemic.

“Whether it’s economic recovery from COVID-19 or recovery for our education systems to get our school children back in the classrooms as quickly as possible,” said Speaker Egolf. “Healthcare efforts, further support for getting the people of New Mexico vaccinated and treated for COVID-19.”

“My message to my colleagues in the House and the Senate is to consider the times we are in just because you can pass a bill doesn’t mean you should pass a bill,” said Rep. Dow. “And the bills that we pass impact the viability of businesses, they impact personal liberty, they impact New Mexico’s ability to recover and thrive in this strange world, this worldwide pandemic.”

Speaker Egolf said that the Roundhouse will be closed to the public this session because of health concerns but people can still listen in and participate remotely. Plans for that will be finalized soon.

Usually, lawmakers meet just once a year for the session but in 2020, they also held two special sessions because of the pandemic.

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