Chris Ramirez, Kai Porter
Updated: January 19, 2021 06:17 PM
Created: January 19, 2021 04:09 PM
SANTA FE, N.M.- Lawmakers spent the first day of the 2021 legislative session conducting routine business on the floor of the House and Senate.
In both chambers, lawmakers swore in new members, elected leadership roles, started introducing legislation and assigned it to committees.
They also voted on rules to hold most of the session virtually.
Speaker of the House Brian Egolf addressed his fellow lawmakers, calling for unity while setting the tone for the next 60 days.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us and I don’t need to remind anyone that this is a time of tremendous hardship, sacrifice and a historic moment in New Mexico and in this country," he said. "It’s time to turn the page and start a new chapter and whether that next chapter is a story of triumph or a story of tragedy depends on the actions and values we exhibit as state leaders over the next 60 days and beyond.”
Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth also acknowledged how difficult the session will be.
“This is an extraordinary time and it’s hard to think back to just a year ago and how much has changed," he said. "We’ve been preparing for this session so that we can keep staff and legislators safe and healthy in the midst of this deadly pandemic. On top of that we saw violence that happened in our nation’s capitol two weeks ago and that added very serious concerns about physical safety of everyone in this building to be able to serve the people of New Mexico.”
Police from multiple agencies surrounded the Roundhouse on the first day of the session. A tactical truck was also on standby for violent disruption.
People who entered the building were required to go through separate law enforcement check-in stations. Only those on a pre-approved list are permitted inside the Roundhouse.
A negative COVID-19 test is also required for those inside the Capitol.
Lawmakers in both the house and the senate are separated by these Plexiglass dividers, and the public wasn’t allowed to watch from the gallery as they normally would due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Copyright 2021 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company