The Supreme Court’s ruling this afternoon to deny in-person public access to the Roundhouse during Thursday’s Special Session sends a shocking message to New Mexicans that they cannot participate in the legislative process.
This is politics at its worst to cover the chaos of the ruling class Democrats. New Mexicans gather by the hundreds in Walmarts and Targets, arrange large protests along the streets, but now they cannot assemble at their state capitol to see their government at work.
“All sessions of each house shall be public” according to the New Mexico Constitution. The high court’s ruling takes away our freedoms to debate, contribute, protest and have access to our elected lawmakers at such a vital time in state history as we all face a multi-billion dollar budget crisis. The Court offered no explanation for its ruling.
The High Court’s decision means there will be a lack of transparency at the Roundhouse, no public interaction, and an opportunity for some progressive lawmakers to be even more reckless with state coffers, after overspending and ignoring warnings about digging into the state’s surplus.
“It’s vital that the public appear in person at this critical Special Session,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce. “State lawmakers will be making decisions that directly affect the public’s interest. The budget, program cuts, taxes–all of this will be hashed over at the Roundhouse with no say from constituents. It’s the people’s government. Lawmakers may also take up issues that impact fundamental liberties, like police reform and election legislation, and there will be no transparency here, no public input. It’s a violation of what open government represents.”
And what happens during the planned virtual legislative debates and meetings when technical problems strike? Does state government shut down, stop in its tracks, so the public won’t miss a beat? Doubtful.
There is no reason why members of the public cannot take precautions amid COVID-19.
Media and legislative staff will be allowed inside the Capitol.
On June 9, members of the Legislative Council Interim Committee voted to close the Special Session at the Roundhouse to the public due to COVID-19.