Lawmaker proposals praise New Mexico communities

The New Mexico State Capitol, known as 'The Roundhouse.'
The New Mexico State Capitol, known as 'The Roundhouse.'

SANTA FE (KRQE) – Halfway through the legislative session, there have been debates about serious changes to state law but not much has come to a final decision yet.

Instead, what have been moving quickly through the House and Senate are dozens of proposals that don’t affect the law.

For instance, Tuesday is “I Love Rio Rancho Day” in the Legislature.

It is one example of nearly 70 dedications lawmakers have proposed in this legislative session alone to devote a day in honor of cities, counties or even just different groups.

Some aren’t quite sure what to think of it.

“Well, all right… I guess,” a Rio Rancho resident said.

The Senate and the House passed memorials declaring it “I Love Rio Rancho Day” in honor of the community on Tuesday.

“It gives them the opportunity to come up, see what we’re doing and recognize them for doing so,” said Sen. Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho), who introduced the Senate memorial to recognize Rio Rancho. “It’s a way of recognizing our community for the things that they do for us.”

Some didn’t know about it.

“I had no clue,” a Rio Rancho resident said. “I think it’s wonderful. Rio Rancho’s pretty awesome. I live there, so I enjoy it.”

Others weren’t happy to hear about it.

“I don’t love Rio Rancho, so I can’t say I approve of that necessarily,” said Geri Rhodes of Tome.

However, that is not the only reason she doesn’t approve.

“I think we have more important business to do in a 30-day session,” Rhodes said.

Nearly 70 proposals in this session at the Roundhouse have nothing to do with changing legislation.

They are memorials, or symbolic dedications. Many just recognize a city or county in New Mexico for a day at the Capitol.

Now, halfway into the session, those kinds of memorials are seeing the most action.

The House has passed nearly double the number of memorials than they have actual legislative bills.

As for the Senate, it has passed 22 memorials compared with two proposals that could change the law.

“It does look like all we’re doing up here is memorials sometimes,” Sen. Brandt said.

He acknowledged there are probably too many memorials, but he said lawmakers aren’t putting off other work in order to create days like “Southwest Cheese Day” or “I Heart Caregivers Day.”

“We don’t not hear a bill because we heard a memorial on the floor,” Sen. Brandt said. “We just stay later and do our job until the wee hours of the morning to get it done.”

The senator said lawmakers before him have traditionally had “I Love Rio Rancho Day” on Valentine’s Day, but he wanted to have it earlier in the session this year while other crucial and often controversial bills are still being debated in committees and therefore not ready for a vote on the Senate floor.

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