Updated: April 06, 2020 06:48 PM
Created: April 06, 2020 06:16 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Speaker of the House Brian Egolf is calling for a virtual special session in an effort to continue social distancing.
"First off, I think it's not just a good idea, I think it's the responsible thing to do to have at the very least members who wish not to be physically present to have them participate remotely," Egolf said.
Egolf believes having 112 legislators in the Roundhouse is unsafe as COVID-19 continues to spread.
"We are in unprecedented times. We have a crisis confronting New Mexico," he said. "If we don't continue to keep up with social distancing, there are thousands of New Mexicans alive today who will not be alive at the end of April."
Egolf said he thinks legislators need to set a good example for the public, and shouldn't convene in crowded committee rooms or on the floor of the House.
However, there are questions about whether a virtual special session would be legal.
The state constitution says, "The legislature of the State of New Mexico... shall hold its sessions at the seat of government."
The seat of government is commonly known as the state capitol in Santa Fe.
There's another concern-- New Mexico is a rural state, and some areas do not have reliable internet access.
"I am deeply concerned about that ability for rural legislators," said Gallup-area Rep. Patty Lundstrom. "I live in a world out here in rural New Mexico where we don't have broadband capabilities like they do in the cities."
The governor indicated she will call a special session, however, she hasn't set a date.
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