Patience is always in short supply in the final days of every legislative session but this year, with the added pressures of pandemic distancing rules and virtual meetings, is one for the record books.
Tensions boiled over in the state senate overnight during a floor session that mercifully ended just before 2:30 in the morning.
During the debate over HB20, the bill guaranteeing paid sick leave statewide, Democrat Daniel Ivey-Soto berated Senate President Mimi Stewart, also an Albuquerque Democrat, over her attempts to remove an amendment he had added in committee (background here). Stewart had had enough and said she would no longer yield the floor to him. Republicans sat by as Democrats battled each other and Ivey Soto pressed on. Finally, Sen. Liz Stefanics, also a Democrat, interrupted the debate to call Ivey-Soto abusive. Others called it misogynist and bullying. Stefanics earned a round of applause from other senators for calling it out. In an attempt to calm the room, the senate took a recess and finally returned to pass the bill, but the toxicity was still palpable.
In spite of that dust-up, Senators did manage to move big legislation earlier in. the day. On a mostly party-line vote, they passed historic legislation OK’ing an amendment to tap into the $20B+ permanent fund for Pre-K and public education. That’s “the big deal” of the session said the governor.
The House also approved – by a single vote margin – a bill to ban trapping and snares on public lands. Who says every vote doesn’t count?!
One last big-ticket item, cannabis legalization, was also originally scheduled for that session. Leaders smartly put that off until this morning. That means it’s not too late to contact your senator. Let’s see if the temperament is better after a couple of hours of sleep.
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