Tuesday, March 14, 2017. More “Dummy Bills” as the end of the legislative session nears.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017. More Dummy Bills as the end of the legislative session nears.
It’s not unusual to see so-called dummy bills (click here for a story we ran describing dummy bills) show up in the legislative process the last several days of the session – the excuse is things are flying fast and furious and members need fresh vehicles to try and coordinate last minute compromises, or whatever.
But that does not make it a good practice.
Today at least three more made it into the committee process with nothing more explaining what was in the bill than this for all three:
AN ACT RELATING TO THE PUBLIC PEACE, HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
(Then nothing, but a big blank space.)
Resulting in the public having no clue what their elected officials are proposing until the last minute, when it may be too late to advocate for or against a bill.
So this is a good segue to an effort to change things: House Joint Memorial 16, filed by Representative Angelica Rubio (D-Las Cruces), a new member of the House.
Her joint memorial would have the Legislative Council Service (LCS) create a task force to review and study the legislative process in New Mexico.
It seems the use of “dummy bills” would be a good place for the task force to start.
Rubio is a thoughtful, focused legislator who takes her job seriously and has spoken in committee and on the floor in defense of working families and those without jobs.
It is interesting that her joint resolution was voted favorably out of committee with a DO PASS recommendation by a 5 to 4 vote, along party lines. The four no votes were by the Republicans on the committee. Things were rolling along.
But now the resolution appears to have slowed down by the Democratic leadership.
Speaker Egolf moved it to ‘his’ table last night along with some other progressive matters such as HB 201, which would create a more progressive tax structure, but which a few Democrats are afraid to vote for.
‘Business on the Speaker’s table’ is where many measures languish until time runs out on the session.
Rubio’s HJR 16, sat on the Third Reading Calendar for almost 18 days, without the Speaker getting to it.
Nothing like pretending to be for reform, then employing some slick maneuvers to kill the very measures that would provide for good and fair government.
This is just the latest in a long string of progressive and reform focused measures that Egolf and a handful of conservative Democrats are quietly killing during this disappointing session.
This has been a tough lesson for Rubio and her reform minded colleagues … but who knows, maybe they will pester the Speaker enough this last week to get the task force in place.