New Mexico First Blog

Letter to the NM House and Senate Leadership on the 2020 Special Session of the NM Legislature

On behalf of a broad coalition of individuals, businesses, and NGOs, New Mexico First is pleased to present a Letter to the NM House and Senate Leadership on the 2020 Special Session of the NM Legislature. The intention of the letter is to promote sound democratic processes and outcomes during the special legislative session. With gratitude to our legislative leadership, this broad coalition is offering suggestions to ensure community voices in policy decision-making are heard. 

If you are an organization that is interested in signing on to the letter below, please email Melanie Sanchez Eastwood at melanie@nmfirst.org.

Download Letter: Letter to the NM House and Senate Leadership on the 2020 Special Session of the NM LegislatureLetter to the NM House and Senate Leadership on the 2020 Special Session of the NM Legislature

Read the Letter Below


May 8, 2020

To: President Pro Tempore Papen, Honorable Speaker Egolf, and Floor Leaders Williams Stapleton, Townsend, Wirth, Ingle and Whips Gallegos, Montoya, Stewart, and Payne

CC: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, LFC Chair Smith, LFC Vice-chair Lundstrom and Director Abbey, NM State Legislature

RE:  2020 Special Session of the New Mexico Legislature

Dear Honorable President Pro Tempore Papen, Speaker Egolf, and House and Senate Leadership,

On behalf of a broad coalition of individuals, businesses, and NGOs, we’d like to thank you for your leadership and service in forging ahead to call a special session of the New Mexico Legislature.  The gravity of the commitment you and your colleagues on both sides of the aisle are making during the public health, economic, and civic crisis that New Mexicans must face is appreciated with deep gratitude.  The need to conduct a special session in a manner that keeps legislators, staff, and the public safe while maintaining confidence in democratic institutions, processes, and outcomes is evident and unenviable. 

During pre-COVID times, New Mexico First has been committed to meaningfully engaging New Mexicans in public policy and systems change efforts.  We are firmly committed to non-partisan deliberative democratic processes at all levels of decision- making as a building block of a healthy democracy.  While this commitment is founded in deeply held American values, it is also informed by a historical and pragmatic lens.  Quite simply, policymaking is better when it is authentically informed by the people who are most likely to endure both the triumphs and failures of public policy. Our diverse wisdom, lived experiences, and areas of expertise allow us to work together to the greatest extent possible to consider the implications of policy decisions before they are enacted and implemented.

In times of uncertainty, when new ways of living and dying together are emerging and the learning curve is steep and costly both in terms of the humanitarian burden and the economic cost, our ability to move forward with any level of success requires that confidence is maintained and strengthened in civic institutions. Decisions about resource allocations and other time-sensitive public policy have and are impacted by both values and morals. They should be made with the greatest transparency and engagement with and from New Mexicans.  Decisions should also be guided by a commitment to human rights, treaty rights with our tribal and pueblo nations, and human dignity. Work to coordinate policy and resource priorities on a state to nation level in ways that respect sovereignty is critical to good policy outcomes.  This requires each of us to consider those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 as a vital part of decision-making.  Some of the most impacted communities in New Mexico are tribal, pueblo, rural and frontier parts of the state who also have limited internet access and broadband capacity.  Steps should be taken to ensure these communities have a voice in the budget process.

We offer the following suggestions to ensure community voices in policy decision-making. New Mexicans reasonably expect clear and predictable ways to participate in hearings and deliberations and offer the following recommendations:

  1. All hearings and deliberations should remain public and abide by the US Constitution, New Mexico Constitution, Open Meetings Act, and House and Senate Rules.
  2. We also ask that communication options are inclusive and entail analog and digital options to provide the greatest access possible to the legislative process.
  3. All hearings and deliberation schedules should be announced at least 24 hours in advance and cannot be changed without 24-hour notice, since unexpected changes suppress opportunities for transparency and meaningful public participation.
  4. All hearings and deliberations should continue to be broadcast and allow remote opportunities for public comment with clear and complete written guidance, published public engagement processes, ADA accessible options, and technical assistance capacity to navigate remote session and or social distancing requirements at least 1 month before the Special Session is convened.
  5. We request that all hearings, deliberations, and votes are made between 8am and 8pm to avoid real or perceived suppression of transparency and public engagement.
  6. We suggest avoiding a caucus of either party during scheduled hearings or deliberations to avoid creating issues with quorum, interfering with transparent and inclusive involvement from communities.
  7. All hearings and deliberations must maintain quorum and the reason(s) for loss of quorum must be posted on the nmlegis.gov website for public review.

With respect,


Lilly Irvin-Vitela, MCRP
President and Executive Director, New Mexico First 
lilly@nmfirst.org
(505) 225-2140


Vanessa Roanhorse
CEO, Roanhorse Consulting
vanessa@roanhorseconsulting.com

 

McKinley Collaborative for Health Equity 

Partner organizations include:

  • McKinley Community Health Alliance
  • Red Water Pond Road Community Association
  • McKinley County Public Health Office
  • Navajo Birth Cohort Study
  • Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining
  • Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment; Conservation Voters of New Mexico Education Fund

http://nmhep.org/partners/mckinley-community-che/

 

Anna Rondon
Executive Director, New Mexico Social Justice and Equity Institute 
nmsjei@gmail.com

 

New Mexico Thrives
Executive Director, Tsiporah Nephesh
tsiporah@nmthrives.org

  

Roy Montibon
President, The Montibon Company
San Miguel County
roy@montibon.com

 

Matthew Denetclaw
Navajo Nation Intertribal Agricultural Council
matthew@indianag.org

 

Ellen Buelow, Advocacy Chair
Interfaith Hunger Coalition, Bernalillo County
ellen.buelow14@gmail.com

 

Carlos Navarro
Interfaith Hunger Coalition, Convener 
carmiguel56@yahoo.com  

 

Judith Williams
Past President, League of Women Voters New Mexico
jkwilliams24@gmail.com

 

The New Mexico Association of Food Banks
http://www.nmfoodbanks.org/

 

Percy Byron Anderson
Community Land Use Planning Committee Vice-Chair for Manuelito Navajo Chapter
nizhoniboy1@gmail.com

 

Christina T. Morris
Health Promotion Specialist, NMDOH/PHD
San Juan County and Navajo Nation Tribe

 

Brie Sillery
Communications Strategist, NM Coalition to End Homelessness (in Albuquerque)
brie-s@nmceh.org

 

Hank Hughes
Executive Director, NM Coalition to End Homelessness (in Santa Fe)  
hank-h@nmceh.org

 

 

Isabelle Jenniches
NM Healthy Soil Working Group
NMhealthysoil.org

 

 

Susan Wilger, Chair
New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council

 

Donald T. Lopez, P.E., CMO, Mayor
Village of Los Ranchos
mayordonaldtlopez@losranchosnm.gov

 

Pam Roy
Executive Director, Farm to Table
pamroy@farmtotablenm.org

 

Heather Ferguson
Executive Director, Common Cause New Mexico
HFerguson@commoncause.org

 

Kathleen Sabo
Executive Director, New Mexico Ethics Watch
http://nmethicswatch.org/


Krystal Curley, Navajo Indigenous Lifeways, Executive Director
krystal@ourindigenouslifeways.org

 

Eugene Pickett, Owner Operator
Black Farmers and Ranchers New Mexico, Pueblitos
eugenepickett2015@gmail.com

 

Duane Yazzie, Chapter President
Shiprock Chapter, Navajo Nation

 

New Mexico Appleseed
Jennifer Ramo, Executive Director

 

Daniel Valverde
Healthy Soil Workgroup


 


 


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2 Comments

Eddie Ulibarri Commented on 08-May-2020 05:27 PM

This is a great letter! Thank you to all the organizations that care!

Duane Yazzie, Chapter President, Shiprock Chapter, Navajo Nation Commented on 09-May-2020 05:48 AM

I fully support the intent of this letter to the leadership of New Mexico

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