Roundup at the Roundhouse Jan. 21, 2021
The First Session of the 55th Legislature
Thursday, January 21, 2021
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE LEGISLATURE
LEGISLATIVE SESSION CONTINUES TODAY AFTER ROUNDHOUSE CLOSES
Lawmakers get back to business in a handful of committee meetings today after the Capitol was shut down during Inauguration Day. Authorities closed the Roundhouse as a matter of caution amid possible threats to state houses across the nation.
Neither the House nor Senate plans to hold another floor session this week. Instead, a few committees will meet virtually. The break gives legislative staff time to print and analyze bills as committee hearings get going.
There's also been talk that floor votes might be held virtually as well this session, and that has many lawmakers upset. That violates the state constitution that calls for such legislative votes to happen in the seat of government.
The full Senate doesn't plan on meeting until Feb. 1st. The House won't meet together until Jan. 25.
ABORTION BILL A PRIORITY IN LEGISLATIVE SESSION
The repeal of an anti-abortion bill will be heard on Monday. SB 10 is scheduled to be the first piece of legislation to be considered by the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee.
The bill is a proposed repeal of a 1969 law that makes it a crime to perform an abortion in New Mexico. The statute has been unenforceable since the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade. But women's rights advocates and others worry the high court could overturn or weaken that decision — in which justices found overly restrictive state government regulations of abortion unconstitutional.
The bill went to the New Mexico Senate floor in 2019, but it failed when eight moderate and conservative-leaning Democrats joined all 16 Republican senators in voting to keep the anti-abortion law on the books.
REPUBLICAN LAWMAKER TO FILE BILL TO ALLOW LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS TO GET STUDENTS BACK IN SCHOOLS
There's a legislative push to get our kids back to class. Republican legislators want that power to be put in the hands of local school boards. Sen. David Gallegos (R-Eunice) plans to file a bill giving school boards, rather than the state, the authority to do that. Gallegos says both Democrats and Republicans can get behind this legislation. The Governor's Public Health Order has devastated our education system and made students fall behind. Her decision to have online schooling has also created a class divide: many students in poor or rural areas cannot get access to the internet or cannot afford computers.