Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New Mexico's Citizen Legislature and Occupation Listed by Our Elected Lawmakers

Civic Engagement will be very important for Medical Cannabis in 2018, for Medical Cannabis Programs , Patients, Producers, Labs and Manufacturers. While some people like to complain and be cynical about the political world, others are advocating for change, making life better, and bringing hope to their communities. If you’re one of the latter, this article will give you some tools for working with your elected officials so that they work better for you.

Elections and Terms of Service
In New Mexico, we have a “citizen legislature,” meaning state senators and representatives receive no salary for serving, only a per diem to cover their travel, accommodation and food expenses during the legislative session. They also work in between sessions (the “interim”) when the committees to which they belong hold hearings. Each state senator represents about 40,000 people (or about 22,000 voters); each state representative about 24,000 people (or about 13,000 voters).

Statewide Election Dates:
November 6, 2018: General election
(Polling hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

New Mexico General Elections 2018
Federal Elections
U.S. Senate: New Mexico will elect one member to the U.S. Senate in the election on November 6, 2018. The election will fill the Senate seat held by Martin Heinrich (D). He was first elected in 2012.

U.S. House: Voters will elect three candidates to serve in the U.S. House, one from each of the state's three congressional districts.

Statewide Elections (Nine state executive offices are up for election in New Mexico in 2018)
Lieutenant governor
Attorney general
Secretary of state
Public lands commissioner
Public education commissioner
Public regulation commissioner

State Legislature: All 70 House Chamber seats in the State Legislature are up for election in 2018. New Mexico state representatives serve two-year terms, with all seats up for election every two years.

The 2018 Ballot will also include: 
State Supreme Court 
Intermediate appellate courts 
Local Judges 
Municipal Government 
Ballot Measures 

Medical Cannabis Advocate’s Training Center: Introduction

New Mexico’s Legislature
Like the U.S. Congress, New Mexico’s Legislature is made up of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. In Congress, each House member represents a specific district within a state, while senators represent the whole state. In New Mexico’s Legislature, House and Senate members both represent districts within the state. Like the U.S. president, New Mexico’s governor and lieutenant governor are elected every four years and may serve no more than two consecutive four–year terms. Unlike the president, the governor and lieutenant governor may serve more than two terms, as long as no more than two of their terms are consecutive.

The 70 members of the state House of Representatives are elected to two-year terms, while the 42 members of the state Senate serve four-year terms. Like in Congress, the entire House is up for reelection every other year. Unlike in Congress, state Senate terms are not staggered, so every four years both the House and Senate come up for re–election. However, elections for the governor and the Senate are staggered—meaning they never occur in the same year.

Occupation Listed by New Mexico Citizen Legislators
New Mexico House of Representatives | Occupation Listed by Representatives Members
Attorney 13
Surgeon 1 (*a UNM doctor who has said a Patient of his got a gamed card for the MCP)
Broadcaster 1
Business Owner 4
Small Business Owner 1
Business Outreach 1
Disabled veteran 1
Consultant 2
Nonprofit Consultant 1
(No Listing) 1
Real Estate Broker 1
Engineer/ Rancher 1
Rancher 2
Police Officer 1
Retired Police Officer 1
Retired 7
Retired Professor 1
Retired Educator 2
CEO/ Educator 1
Educator 5
Teacher 3
Physical Therapist 1
Sr. Superintendent 1
Executive Director 2
Foundation Director 1
Research Engineer 1
Engineer 2
Real Estate Investment 1
Construction 1
Miner 1
Training Consultant 1
Self Employed 2
Comm. Econ. Developer 1
Government Relations 1
Conservation 1
Petroleum Landman 1
Pipeline Safety Inspector 1
Realtor 1

New Mexico Senate | Occupation Listed by Senate Members
Attorney 5
(None) 3
Retired 1
Clergy 1
Small Businessman 2
Business Owner 5
Education 1
Retired Educator 1
Educator 2
Teacher 1
Insurance 3
Executive Director 1
Farmer 1
Association Executive 1
Consultant 3
Retired Magistrate Judge 1
Real Estate Appraiser 2
Development Director 1
Social Worker 1
Retired Car Dealer 1
Tribal Government 1
Farmer 1
Community Development 1
Land Conservation 1
Retired City Manager 1

Finding Your Voice

The State Legislature and How Our State Government Works
The New Mexico state Legislature meets for a 60-day regular session in odd-numbered years and for a 30-day regular session in even-numbered years. Regardless of the length of the session, it always begins on the third Tuesday of January. Sixty-day sessions consider any and all legislative matters, while 30-day sessions are limited to budgetary matters and those items placed on the governor’s agenda, or “call.”

The governor can call a special session to deal with emergency legislation that needs attention before the next regular session. The governor controls the agenda for special sessions. The Legislature may also call itself into an extraordinary session to consider their own attempt to override a governor’s veto. Extraordinary sessions require approval of two-thirds of the Legislature.

As with the U.S. Congress, each chamber of the state Legislature has a leader who is elected from the majority party (the political party that holds the most seats) by the members of that chamber. The leader of the Senate is called the Senate President Pro Tempore. In the house, the leader is the Speaker of the House. The leadership sets the agenda and appoints the chairs of committees. Under the Speaker and the President Pro Tem are the Majority Leader and the Majority Whip. The minority party is represented by the Minority Leader and the Minority Whip. The job of the Whip is to round up members for important votes. Just as the vice president presides over the U.S. Senate, the lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate, casting tie–breaking votes when necessary.

All legislators serve on committees both during the session and during the interim. Each committee is run by its chair or co–chairs and has a vice chair. Senate committees also have ranking members and some House committees have deputy chairs. Senate committee members are appointed by the Committee’s Committee, while House members are appointed by the Speaker. The committees that meet during the regular session are called standing committees, and each is comprised of either senators or representatives. Committees are very powerful bodies because they hear legislation before it is considered by the full House or Senate.

Interim committees of the Legislature meet between sessions (generally beginning in June) to hear reports on past actions, provide oversight to state agencies, discuss important issues, and prepare legislation for the regular session. Interim committees are comprised of members of both the House and Senate.

Speaking during committee meetings and hearings can also be a very effective way of educating and lobbying legislators. All committee hearings are open to the public for observation. Some meetings allow time for public comment, in which case you simply show up. Some require that you ask the chair of the committee if you may make a formal presentation to the committee about a specific issue.

The Legislature is supported by full-time staff members and several agencies. The main agency is the Legislative Council Service (LCS), which drafts bills and supplies legal information, research, and technical support. The LCS also produces a variety of publications including the Daily Bill Finder and operates the legislative library, which is open for public use.

Strategic Messaging

Bills, Memorials and Resolutions
Legislation can be introduced in the form of a bill, memorial or resolution.

A bill is a change in law or an appropriation of funds for a specific purpose. Bills require passage in both chambers and the signature of the governor.

A memorial is a way of honoring or acknowledging a group or individual, petitioning Congress or other government agencies, or, most commonly, asking a state agency to study an issue. Memorials require passage in both chambers but do not require the governor’s signature.

A resolution is a proposal to amend the state constitution by taking the proposed amendment to the voters. Amending the state constitution requires passage of the resolution in both chambers and then approval by a majority of voters in the next general election. A resolution does not require action by the governor.

Legislating Compassion

How a Bill Becomes Law in New Mexico
The idea for a bill can come from anyone. Often it is a citizen who identifies a need and makes a request of their legislator. If the legislator chooses to introduce the bill to the Legislature, he or she asks the LCS to draft the language for the bill.

A bill can be introduced in either the House or the Senate or both, but it must pass both chambers to become law. It can also have more than one sponsor or can be joint legislation, meaning identical bills with different sponsors are introduced in both the House and the Senate. No matter how many sponsors a bill has, only the first sponsor is credited as the bill’s sponsor.

Every bill must have a fiscal impact report (FIR) to determine how much its implementation will cost the state. These are created by the staff of the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) and are posted on the Legislature’s website. [ ]

Generally, a bill is introduced by the sponsor or sponsors and then assigned to one, two or three committee hearings. The committee hearings provide an opportunity for the supporters and opponents of the bill to speak for or against it. The committee can choose to pass the bill with or without amendments, defeat it, or table it. Tabling a bill can either mean setting it aside for later consideration (to be added as an amendment onto a larger bill, such as an appropriation bill), or it can be a way of defeating a bill without taking a vote. The committee chair determines whether or not the committee votes, sets aside or tables a bill.

When a bill passes the first committee, it goes to the next committee assignment or to the full House or Senate for a vote. Once it passes the House or Senate, the bill is reported (sent) to the other chamber for their action. That chamber will then assign it to one, two or three committees where the bill will have to pass before coming to the full chamber for a vote. A bill must pass both chambers in exactly the same form in order to go to the governor for his or her signature. If it is amended by one chamber it must go back to the other chamber for their concurrence.

A bill must have three readings in both the House and the Senate. A bill’s first reading is its introduction. Acceptance of a committee report is considered the second reading, and the floor debate and vote on the bill is considered the third reading. If a bill is favorably voted on by the full Senate and House, then it goes to the governor for his or her signature.

If the bill is passed before the last three days of the session, the governor has 72 hours to either sign or veto the bill. If the governor takes no action, then the bill is automatically enacted. If the bill is vetoed, the Legislature may override the veto with a vote of at least two-thirds of both chambers. If the bill is passed during the last three days of the session (which is usually the case), the governor has 20 days to sign or veto a bill. If the governor takes no action, then the bill is killed by what is called a “pocket veto.”

How A Bill Becomes Law

Advocacy and Action
Advocacy is a form of civic participation — much like voting. When you vote, you send a message about which candidates you want in office. Advocacy is taking your vote a step further. It’s telling your elected officials what issues you’d like them to act on and how. Advocacy can be as quick and easy as voting—sending a brief email, for example. Or it can be more involved, encompassing anything from chatting over coffee with your city councilor to meeting with your congressional representative on Capitol Hill.

Meeting with Officials

Find Your New Mexico Legislator:

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To vote in New Mexico, you must be registered at least 28 days prior to the election.
Simply pick up a voter registration application form or print the national form online, fill it out, then mail it to the New Mexico Office of the Secretary of State or your local County Clerk's Office. If you are not sure where to send it, you can look it up on our website or call us at 1-800-477-3632.