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Lawmaker proposes bill allowing online testimony to Legislature

Lawmaker proposes bill allowing online testimony to Legislature Photo: Chris Ramirez

J.R. Oppenheim and Joy Wang
November 06, 2017 06:14 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A state lawmaker is proposing a way to have public comment from New Mexicans who cannot physically be in Santa Fe to testify.

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Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, wants to introduce legislation in the upcoming session aimed to allow people to give their testimony before legislative committees through online means.

Candelaria said Monday many New Mexicans cannot make the trek to Santa Fe, especially those living in rural parts of the state. New Mexico ranks as the fifth largest state based on land size. For example, it takes more than 4 hours to drive from Carlsbad in southeastern New Mexico to the state capitol.

With his legislation, Candelaria said they can use cost-effective technology to "ensure that everyone has a seat at the table."

"Consider someone in a rural community in the far south of the state who might be directly impacted by "a pending piece of legislation. Taking an entire day or two off and traveling hundreds of miles in order to testify might not even be possible," Candelaria continued.  “Providing remote access for people to submit testimony virtually would expand our ability to hear from and respond to every citizen, not just those with the time and ability to travel to committee meetings."

If it passes, people would be able to audio or video record their comments, submit them online, and have those recordings played live during committee meetings.

The legislative session begins in mid-January of next year.

Credits

J.R. Oppenheim and Joy Wang

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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