Q: When does New Mexico’s special session begin?
A: The special session will officially begin at noon on Thursday, June 18. However, standing committees can meet the day before the special session.
Q: When will the special session end?
A: There is no announced date on when it will end. However, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in a May 20th news conference said that lawmakers hope to end their special session work by the weekend.
Q: Is the public allowed at the Roundhouse during the special session?
A: No. The Roundhouse will be closed to the public, but members of the media who wish to cover the proceedings will be able to attend. Staff and legislators will also attend and follow social distancing protocols.
Q: How can the public comment during the special session?
A: People interested in commenting during special session should click on the “What’s Happening” tab on the New Mexico Legislature website. There they will find a list of upcoming committee meetings with links. There should be a link that says click to join the webinar for public comment. The link will then open into a Zoom meeting.
Q: Will the special session be live streamed?
A: Yes. All committee hearings, as well as the floor sessions, will be live-streamed. Watch committee hearings and floor sessions here >>
Q: What is the main focus of the special session?
A: Lawmakers need to trim an estimated $1.8 billion to $2.4 billion from the state budget amid a downturn in oil and other tax revenues during the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the state constitution, lawmakers need to meet in-person to vote on balancing the budget.
Q: What else will be addressed during the special session?
A: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Wednesday, June 17 that she will also ask lawmakers to take up the following bills:
- Requiring police to wear cameras, banning chokeholds and making officers’ disciplinary history a matter of public record.
- Allowing county clerks the authority to send mail ballots to registered voters with a current mailing address.
- Waiving penalties and interest for small businesses and individuals who have been unable to make timely property tax and gross receipts tax payments due pandemic.
- Directing the State Investment Officer to invest a portion of the state’s multibillion-dollar Severance Tax Permanent Fund to support loans to small businesses and municipalities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Safe Practices
All employees are required to undergo a COVID-19 test before the start of the special session in order to be allowed to enter the Roundhouse. Legislators are not employees and not required to get tested but are urged to do so.
Raul Burciaga, director of Legislative Council Services, says testing will be made available for lawmakers who want it. He says there can possibly be temperature checks at each door. There will also be hand-washing areas and hand sanitizers throughout the building.