The times are changing, but change won’t come easily. That’s what the new House of Representatives leadership will encounter as they seek to restructure committees. Part of the proposed change is outlined in House Resolution 1 (HR 1), which was considered by House Rules today.
Committees like House Appropriations and Finance, Education and Judiciary remain the same, along with some of the procedural committees like Rules. HR I proposes that Health, Government and Indian Affairs be split, with Health becoming a stand-alone committee. Voter and Elections would then be folded into Government and Indian Affairs. Business and Industry would merge with Labor and become Business and Employment. There are also new committees like Safety and Civil Affairs and several name changes, such as Tax and Revenue becoming Ways and Means.
Speaker Don Tripp (R-Socorro) believes the changes will improve efficiency by grouping subject matter and making the referral process more predictable.
Public comment during the hearing overwhelmingly objected to subsuming voters & elections and labor into other committees, noting voter turnout challenges and the need for employees to have a voice. Committee Democrats argued against nearly all of the proposed changes, and they were successful in getting an amendment that would rename the hybrid committee Government, Elections and Indian Affairs. Beyond that, the Republican majority held and the committee’s 'Do Pass' recommendation means a simple majority, which Republicans now have, will assure passage on the floor of the House of Representatives. But not without much more debate.
The Speaker wants the restructuring approved quickly so he can populate the committees and begin bill referrals. Follow bills of interest on the UNM Bill Tracker.
The feed bill that pays for the session was approved by both houses today. The senate reconvenes at 10 a.m. Thursday and the house follows at 10:30 a.m.