COVID-19: Republican lawmaker calls for legislative session to be delayed | KOB 4

COVID-19: Republican lawmaker calls for legislative session to be delayed

Joy Wang
Updated: November 12, 2020 10:14 PM
Created: November 12, 2020 09:38 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Some New Mexico lawmakers want to delay the 60-day legislative session until it's safe to gather.

House Republican Leader Jim Townsend believes it's disrespectful for legislators to convene in January.

"It seems a little disingenuous to me and to many on both sides of the aisle, quite frankly, that we would then disregard all of those executive orders and say, 'well, you at home need to abide by these, but we're not going to, we're going to go to Santa Fe and we're going to have a legislative session, but you can't come,'" Townsend said.

House Speaker Brian Egolf disagrees.

"The views of the other party, quite frankly, are preposterous," he said. "To compare a meeting of the legislative session, convened to provide critical assistance to small businesses and working families, and to compare that to having not being able to have a large Thanksgiving dinner, it's a preposterous comparison."

Townsend expressed concern about accessibility.

"We have the 49th best broadband system in the nation," he said. "And we're going to try to pull a legislative session off."

Egolf, however, claimed that the virtual special session had as much, if not more, public participation than a normal legislative session.

"They can offer comment and participation, literally from anywhere on the planet," he said. "If they have an internet connection, and if they don't have an internet connection. All they have to have is a phone line."

Townsend worries that a legislative session in January will be premature.

"What I'm saying is, let's do it responsibly. Let's not go put a budget together with bad numbers that are contrived and fake and, and so that we have to come back and have a special session in a month or two because we now realize that what we put together, doesn't work," he said.

Egolf doesn't believe delaying the legislative makes a lot of sense.

"We can't delay the session on the hope that it is going to be magically better in March or April, you know," he said. "The New Mexico Republicans sound like President Trump when they say it's going to magically disappear, it's going to go away, well we don't know that. And we can't wait. New Mexico small businesses need help as soon as possible.

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