ALBUQUERQUE, NM – We are less than a week from the start of this year’s 60-day legislative session.
Now, top Republicans are setting their goals for a year of staggering money to work with nationwide.
Because this is a 60-day session, elected officials have more time and leeway to work on legislation they think is important.
Officials whom KOB 4 spoke to Wednesday say they want to pass legislation that is good for New Mexicans across the state by the end of the session.
“We’re interested in tackling real problems and finding practical solutions, we’ve broken that down into five areas,” said State Assemblyman Ryan Lane.
These categories include: education, public safety, healthcare, business, and affordable energy. They have plans to introduce bills that address issues in each and every area.
“Teachers can give raises, but also measure, measure, have some sort of accountability to our students, so we know they’re getting the education that the state is paying for, that your tax dollars are paying for,” said State Rep. Gail Armstrong.
When it comes to public safety.
“We will focus on law enforcement recruitment and retention, which is important, and we are genuinely interested in tackling the repeat career criminals, particularly violent career criminals. That’s an ongoing problem that I don’t think New Mexico has resolved yet, so that’s going to be a focus as well,” Lane said.
They also want to expand access to health care to all parts of the state.
“One of the issues is healthcare in rural New Mexico, we have a real problem with clinic closures during the pandemic. Who heard about this? That’s crazy, and the out-of-state access because some of my rural towns are closer to Arizona or Texas than New Mexico, so they can’t access them because of insurance and other issues,” Armstrong said.
As for the economy.
“We want to improve the business climate in the state of New Mexico, we have been blessed with this tremendous amount of additional revenue, $3.6 billion. We’ve been talking about reforming our tax code for years, and if not now, when are we going to get it right?” said State Assemblyman Josh Harper.
Finally, they also want to make sure that when you get your energy bill at the end of the month, you can afford it.
But with all of those goals for the 60-day session, they realize they need to make some bipartisan agreements to get their bills across the finish line.
“We’re aware that we’re in the minority, but I think the New Mexicos who voted for us and our colleges want us to solve the state’s problems and they don’t care if it’s one.” Republican or a Democratic idea — if so, good idea, they want us to work on it,” Harper said.
All three representatives say they are willing to work across the aisle to achieve their goals.
We also asked these lawmakers about safety at the Roundhouse, particularly following the shooting investigation into local lawmakers.
We’ll know what they have to say, as well as the safety with which the roundhouse is going about protecting everyone.