KOB Web Staff
Updated: June 12, 2020 06:32 PM
Created: June 12, 2020 04:38 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A group of lawmakers wants the Roundhouse to be open to the public during the special legislative session.
The group has asked the New Mexico Supreme Court to step in.
In a petition to the court, the lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, say the rules violate the state constitution, which says "all sessions of each house shall be public."
The public has been barred from the special session due to fears over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rep. Daymon Ely, who was among the lawmakers who came up with the rules for the special session, said the public won't be shut out of the legislative session.
"I really want to get to a point where we can all agree that the rules are fair. And I think that we will be able to do that. That it will give everyone a chance to debate. It will give the public an opportunity to watch. The media will have access to the building while balancing the public safety concerns, the public health concerns," he said.
A lot is at stake during the special session. Lawmakers will be addressing an estimated $2 billion shortfall, which was caused by plunging oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government send a letter to legislative leaders.
The group urges lawmakers to "let the public watch as you grapple with such decisions in the sunlight. Let's work together to ensure government transparency is not another victim of the COVID-19 health crisis."
The state Supreme Court has given legislative leaders until Monday afternoon to respond to the call for a public session.
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