Senate Committee Considering Legislation to Balance Governor’s Emergency Powers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 2, 2021

Contact: Joaquin Romero

joaquin.romero@nmlegis.gov

(505) 506-5798

SANTA FE – On Wednesday, at 1:30 p.m., the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee is scheduled to consider legislation aimed at restoring balance to the powers of the Governor during a public health emergency. Senate Bill 74 (SB 74), sponsored by Republican Leader, Senator Greg Baca (District 29-Bernalillo and Valencia), would amend existing law to require legislative approval for the extension of an emergency declaration.

“We are almost eleven months into the Governor’s public health emergency declaration with no apparent end in sight,” said Senator Baca. “Thousands of New Mexicans are now out of work, hundreds of businesses have closed, and we still do not know when our children will be able to return to school. Whether you support the heavy-handed actions of the Governor or not, most would agree that no single elected official should have this much power.”

Under SB 74, a public health emergency declaration would automatically terminate after fourteen days “for an order of general applicability throughout the state or a portion of the state that closes any public place or forbids or limits gatherings of people.” A renewal of the declaration would require a Joint Resolution of the Legislature, or if the Legislature is not in Session, a joint statement signed by three or more legislative leaders.

“This bill is about restoring some balance and accountability in Santa Fe,” added Senator Baca. “Though the public has been barred from the Capitol building, citizens can still express their opinions by offering public comment and calling their legislators and the Governor, and voicing their support for this important bill.”

The Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee hearing for SB 74 will be streamed live via webcast at nmlegis.gov. Any member of the public wishing to make public comment should send an email to SPAC@nmlegis.gov with the following information: your name; entity represented (if applicable); the bill number (SB 74); whether you are for or against the bill; and whether or not you would like to speak. The deadline to respond is Wednesday at 8:00 a.m.

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