Santa Fe - House Bill 1, the 2nd 2020 Special Session Coronavirus Relief bill, still leaves much to be desired, however consideration given to House Republican concerns signaled a rare moment of bipartisanship. House Republican efforts in negotiating and drafting of amendments produced a unique opportunity for across-the-aisle support in changing language that improved the bill. In addition, House Republicans welcomed changes that included provisions which delivered federal CARES Act funds to New Mexicans who had originally been ignored, such as single individual owned businesses and veterans' organizations.
"I have said from the beginning that we cannot afford any more temporary fixes during this pandemic, we need to make certain permanent relief is provided to New Mexicans who are desperate for help," said House Republican Leader Jim Townsend. "I am hopeful that House Republicans will continue to have a seat at the table to address this out of control crisis."
House Republicans, while pleased at the rare instance of bipartisanship, still took a hard look at how New Mexico should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The people of New Mexico have endured and continue to follow "shelter-in-place" mandates which are some of the toughest restrictions in the nation, yet we are also seeing some of the highest virus spread in the nation.
"It is unfortunate that House Democrats refused to hear our proposal in House Bill 2, to reign in the Governor's authority. This administration governs by crisis, with the Governor only calling together our Legislature only when it becomes clear that her decisions have harmed New Mexico workers and businesses, and when she feels the need to share the blame," said House Republican Whip Rod Montoya. "For nearly eight months, the Governor has acted on her own in response to the COVID crisis. Despite her failures, we came into this special session to address the underlying economic issues created by her response to the pandemic."