News from the Session: January 2014

The thirty day "short session" kicked off last week with the Governor's State of the State address, the Democratic response by Senator Bill Soules from Las Cruces, and the introduction of bills, constitutional amendments, memorials and rules changes. Our primary charge is to build the 2015 budget for the state of New Mexico but it is clear we will have a wide range of other topics to discuss.

In addition to fighting for a budget based on democratic values, my priorities this session include water issues, tax policy and a bill to ban texting while driving. You can find the list of bills I introduced by following this link to the Legislature's web site. Once you are there, if you click the bill you are interested in, you can read the bill, see what committees it is referred to, and see where the bill is in the process. There also is a "My Roundhouse" feature on the website that will send you email updates about the progress of any bill.

Remember this is a budget session which means bills have to be related to the budget or have a message from the Governor to be considered "germane." Thus, you will see bills on my list like SB 18 related to campaign finance donor disclosure that will only be considered if the Governor gives it a message, something that has yet to happen.

How you can help

Here are some ways to advocate for or against bills:

1. Follow the bill as it moves through the process and participate at each stage. Remember a bill has to have majority votes in each of the committees where it is referred so your focus should be on those committee members.

2. Participate and coordinate with other groups supporting or opposing the bill. While everyone has the absolute right to engage in the process, a coordinated effort is often more effective.

3. Attend legislative committee hearings and testify during public comment.

4. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Once again I will "tweet" about the progress of my bills and other important issues in the 2014 session. My Twitter account is @senatorwirth. If you do not have a Twitter account, you can view my tweets on my website.

Do not hesitate to e-mail if you have questions or concerns. It is a great honor to represent Senate District 25 in the New Mexico Legislature.

Senator Peter Wirth

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