January 17, 2023

2023 session will include no COVID-19 mandates, regular security

The regular New Mexico Legislative Session begins Tuesday and public and politicians alike can expect to see regular security and no COVID-19 restrictions. Masking and social distancing are requested but not mandated.

The New Mexico Legislative Council met Monday for its regular pre-session meeting to discuss the legislative session.

COVID testing will be available for those who wish it from paramedics near the north door on the second floor ground level, New Mexico Legislative Council Service Director Raúl Burciaga said.

As to security measures, two metal detectors will be at the Roundhouse’s main entrance on the east and west side from whence most of the public enter.

“It’s up and ready. We are as ready as we can be, Burciaga said. “I know it’s been a crazy two years. We’re not completely past the pandemic. I did advise our legislative staff that while there is no mask mandate or vaccination requirement or testing, we do encourage people to wear masks if they’d like, maybe social distance… but that’s not a mandate. We’ve also asked the people who visit… to respect somebody who may be wearing a mask of their own volition.”

The meeting included a New Mexico State Police budget discussion led by NMSP Maj. Dale Wagoner.

Wagoner requested about $217,000 to fund security during the 2023 legislative session.

This includes per diem and mileage.

NMSP will have a total of 30 people total which includes one lieutenant, four sergeants and 12 officers per rotation, Wagoner said.

Roundhouse security has been a question since the reports of shootings at prominent Albuquerque Democrats’ homes or offices, including two legislators.

Six shootings took place between Dec. 4 and Jan. 5 at homes or offices around Albuquerque.

The shootings were at Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa’s home, then-Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley’s home, state Sen. Linda Lopez’ home, state Rep. Javier Martinez’ home, state Sen. Anthony “Moe” Maestas’ law office and Attorney General Raúl Torres campaign headquarters.

The Albuquerque Police Department announced Monday that it had arrested Solomon Peña, a failed state Senate candidate and election denier, in four shootings in the case.

The only thread connecting the six victims is that they are all Democratic politicians.