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Advocacy organizations ask NM governor to stop special legislative session

Trees frame the capital building in Santa Fe
Chris Boswell
Getty Images / iStockphoto
Trees frame the capital building in Santa Fe

On Tuesday, 41 advocacy organizations including ACLU of New Mexico, Equality New Mexico, and Bold Futures NM, sent a letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham urging her to call off this month’s special legislative session due to concerns it will have detrimental impacts on New Mexicans.

The organizations and mental health experts say legislative proposals for the upcoming session will do more harm than good.

Marshall Martinez, executive director for Equality New Mexico, said good policy never comes when it’s rushed.

“There's no way for an institution with 112 members to have meaningful dialogue and really investigate solutions in 3 days in addition to the procedural things they have to do in order to pass the bill,” he said. “It's especially not going to be good policy when the entire policy has been drafted on the 4th floor of the Roundhouse and doesn't include community solutions.”

The 4th floor is where the governor’s office is located. In New Mexico, the governor may call a special session at any time. The only matters that may be considered are those listed in her proclamation calling the session.

Proposed bills for the special session include involuntary commitment for those that are seen as violent, updating firearm possession to a second degree felony, and a bill that would make it a crime to loiter around high speed areas.

Martinez said that these proposed laws won't be beneficial.

“None of those things will make any of us any safer, and they're harmful,” he said. “Someone with severe acute mental illness being locked against their will into an institution and forcibly treated is just increasingly adding trauma to that person's already, mentally unstable state.”

Martinez said that there is enough time from now until January when the 2025 session begins for legislators to come together with the community to figure out the right solutions for these problems.

“The urgency is there. New Mexicans want to solve these problems,” Martinez said.

A spokesperson told Source New Mexico the governor is moving ahead with the session and he characterized the groups’ letter as “calling for doing nothing.”

The special legislative session will begin on July 18th.

Support for this coverage comes from the Thornburg Foundation.

Jeanette DeDios is from the Jicarilla Apache and Diné Nations and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2022 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism, English and Film. She’s a former Local News Fund Fellow. Jeanette can be contacted at jeanettededios@kunm.org or via Twitter @JeanetteDeDios.
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