Many things happen in the final throws of the legislative session. At this point we are keeping an eye on Senate Bill 304 – Voting District Geographic Data sponsored by Senator Brenda G. McKenna (D-Bernalillo & Sandoval).
Based on insights from our lobbying team, there is a chance that the contents of SB15 are going to be folded into SB304 and heard on the House Floor. Of course, in the final moments of the legislative session, SB15 and SB304 could be heard separately.
We remain hopeful that the issue of redistricting will be heard sometime before the end of the session, Noon, Saturday, March 2021.
Senate Bill 15 – Redistricting Committee, sponsored by Speaker of the House Representative Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) and Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Bernalillo) remains on the calendar to be heard for final passage by the House of Representatives. If passed and conferred by the Senate, SB15 would go to the Governor for review and hopeful signature.
The legislative session ends at Noon on Saturday, March 20.
But, what happens if no redistricting committee legislation is passed? That would be the worst possible scenario because it would mean gerrymandering and partisan politics are the rule of law. Any hope of an independent redistricting commission would be dashed.
The Legislative Council would appoint legislators to set the rules and oversee a process, with an unclear role of the citizenry and no limits on protection of incumbents. Incidentally, New Mexico is one of only two states in the nation that expressly, and without limitation, allows protection of incumbents in the redistricting process. Absent the reforms called for in SB15 or HB211, this year’s process could be more partisan and dividing than in 2012 – which resulted in multiple lawsuits of millions of dollars in taxpayer funded legal fees.
Encourage legislators to hear SB15. Don’t let the session run out without a redistricting bill.
Senate Bill 15-Redistricting Act is scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee Saturday, March 6, 2021. The measure is a committee substitute and contains many of the measures in the New Mexico Redistricting Task Force report including:
Areas that still need to be addressed include:
Watch the hearing, starting at 1:30. The deadline has expired to request the chance to speak, but you can still email your legislator to provide feedback on SB15. Calls, texts or emails to members of the SJC are encouraged.
In Senate Rules Committee today, a committee substitute bill was introduced that combined Senate Bill 199 (SB199) and Senate Bill 15 (SB15). SB199 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Bernalillo) and Senator Mark Moores R-Bernalillo) and SB 15 is sponsored by Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (-Bernalillo). The three lawmakers, all of whom have a strong track record in support of good governance, worked together on the new language – which passed with approval from Republicans and Democrats.
Senator Ivey-Soto created a committee substitute bill that calls for establishment of a cross-partisan citizens redistricting commission. The commission would use criteria, considerably more rigorous than what was used a decade ago, and recommend maps to the legislature.
The committee substitute, which passed on a unanimous 10-0 vote and now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee, potentially the full Senate and then to the House of Representatives.