At the Roundhouse: Testify!January 29th, 2013 at 7:58 pm by Alex Goldsmith under N.M. Politics
New Mexico is sometimes said to have one of the more open legislatures in the country.
That can mean packed galleries and packed committee rooms for controversial issues.
Monday afternoon a massive crowd assembled to hear debate on a bill that would require background checks for guns bought privately or at gun shows forced the committee to move from a small room to the floor of the House.
That led to some interesting wrinkles, perhaps the most notable of which was an impressive arsenal of weapons including a sawed-off shotgun and several semi-automatic rifles sitting on a table on the House floor. They were brought there for demonstration by Santa Fe police, who had recently bought them back off of the street.
The House floor was also lined wall to wall with citizens on both sides of the issue looking to get their 2 cents in.
The amount of time those voices get heard varies from committee to committee and is up to the chair, what kind of mood they’re in and how controversial the bill is.
Monday afternoon, House Judiciary chair Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, gave the pros and cons each one hour to debate. That left some people out of the discussion but allowed for longer arguments.
Tuesday afternoon, House Labor & Human Resources chair Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, let everyone speak but only gave each person 30 seconds to 2 minutes worth of time before moving on.
The rules may be different if you ever try to testify in a committee…. but you won’t know if you don’t go.
Bill of the Day: SB 286
In my previous bill of the day segments, I’ve gone into an analysis of what changes a bill would make and arguments for or against.
While I’m sure there could be a robust debate on SB 286, I’m not agriculture-wise enough to know the issue, so I’ll just lay this one out as is.
SB 286 was introduced by Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, and is a bill that would ban the retail sale of raw milk in New Mexico.
It’s currently sitting in the Senate Conservation Committee.