The New Mexico House of Representatives spent much of the second day of the second 2021 special legislative session discussing the merits of proposed maps. The special session is largely focused on redrawing the state’s political boundaries for U.S congressional districts and state House and Senate districts and is expected to last 12 days.
During a more-than three-hour presentation to the House, both Republicans and Democrats debated the merits of one congressional map concept in particular and whether a newly formed citizen led redistricting committee had presented the best map concepts for the Legislature to choose from. Later in the day, a House committee heard public testimony on a House map that is an amalgamation of three concepts from the citizen committee.
During a House committee of the whole on Tuesday morning, a representative of the citizen committee along with members of the prominent New Mexico polling company Research and Polling fielded questions and sometimes criticism from members.
Rep. Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences, who is also vying for the Republican nomination for governor, questioned a congressional map concept put forward by advocacy group Center for Civic Policy and adopted by the redistricting committee. Known as el mapa de la gente, or the people’s map, the concept would drastically change the three congressional districts and group rural areas like Roswell and Carrizozo with the urban Albuquerque area. According to the Center for Civic Policy, the goal of the map is to create a strong Latino or Hispanic district.
UPDATE: Wednesday afternoon, the federal government reversed their decision on whether to continue pursuing the controversial citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Trump wrote on Twitter, “We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.” And attorneys for the federal government told the court they had not heard of Trump’s position on this before his tweet. Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), which represents plaintiffs in the suit that reached the Supreme Court, reacted to the federal government’s reversal:
“Under this administration, there’s no accounting for doubling down on stupid. Unfortunately, and embarrassingly for our nation, today’s reversal from yesterday’s certainty repeats the pattern of this entire affair, which began with Secretary Wilbur Ross — who inexplicably remains in the Cabinet — lying to Congress and the public about the reason for the late attempted addition of a citizenship question to Census 2020.
A poll finds that New Mexico voters say that crime prevention should be a priority over punishment. The group Center for Civic Policy, a progressive group based out of Albuquerque, commissioned the poll from Third Eye Strategies. The group opposes many of the bills to increase penalties that have been introduced this year. The poll comes as Republicans, especially leadership in the House, have focused the early days of the session largely on legislation that increases penalties for certain crimes. House Democrats have instead focused much of their attention on ethics, though the legislation they introduced has not yet been given the OK to be heard by Gov. Susana Martinez.