By Daniel J. Chacón, The Santa Fe New Mexican
Two Republican senators proposing to designate the Monday after the Super Bowl an official holiday in New Mexico scored a touchdown Thursday with the Senate Indian, Rural and Cultural Affairs Committee.
The committee endorsed Senate Bill 483, which would establish the second Monday in February as a legal holiday in the state called “Football Monday,” on a 4-2 vote.
“I think the holiday should be for the NBA championship,” joked Sen. Shannon Pinto, D-Tohatchi, who voted against the bill along with Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque.
Sens. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, and Joshua Sanchez, R-Bosque, said some 16 million people don’t show up to work the Monday after the Super Bowl.
“‘Football Monday,’ it’s something that people joke about a lot, but in all seriousness, the amount of productivity lost on ‘Football Monday’ is huge,” Pirtle said.
“How is government or how are schools … supposed to run efficiently if 15% of your people don’t show up?” he asked. “It just puts an unnecessary burden on those that do show up to work … so this would just provide some clarity and some consistency so that people can really enjoy themselves on Super Bowl Sunday and not have to worry about going into work the next day.”
Sen. Bill O’Neill, D-Albuquerque, noted the bill would be considered by a budget committee.
“I feel better knowing that they’re going to look at the numbers, but I certainly love this bill,” he said.
A fiscal impact report on the bill states establishing a new legal holiday could lead to additional payroll costs for state and local governments in New Mexico.
“Notably, most of the cost of SB 483 would likely be in the form of reduced productivity, rather than additional payroll costs,” the report states.
Committee members cracked jokes about the bill during a 10-minute discussion.
“I’m really concerned about forcing 16 million people with a hangover to have to deal with their kids that day instead of sending them to school,” Ivey-Soto said.
“I think we ought to just declare every Monday a state holiday,” said Sen. Ron Griggs, R-Alamogordo.
“What are we going to do about March Madness?” Pinto asked.
The real problem, Ivey-Soto said, is the Super Bowl is played on a Sunday.
“We would resolve this problem if the NFL were to move the Super Bowl to a Saturday because then people could simply miss church on Sunday morning and be back at work on Monday,” he said. “I think [the bill sponsors have] identified a significant problem. I just don’t think their solution is the best.”