A dozen individuals with a breadth of experience at the Roundhouse reviewed the Report Card before we published. Despite this, we received input after it was published that caused us to make a few revisions. These revisions do not materially change our findings.
Revision July 22, 2019. For those who’ve already read the report, the most significant change is the removal of two bar graphs illustrating how many bills died in committee without a hearing. We understood the designation at nmlegis.gov of “Action Postponed Indefinitely” (API) to indicate that a bill had not been heard and had died. While this is basically true, there are numerous reasons bills are designated API and we oversimplified that. See page 15-16 for a more thorough explanation of API.
And on page 21, we revised one of our recommendations related to how the Roundhouse currently operates, offering suggestions to create greater transparency.
Revision July 31, 2019. The list of Retake Our Democracy’s allies was removed in a July 31, 2019 revision of this report after a handful of those allies contacted us to say that being listed in this report might jeopardize their 501c3 status as many of the findings in the report are of a type that is not allowed from a 501-c-3 organization. This is precisely why Retake Our Democracy chose to be a 501-c-4 organization.
To be clear, none of our allies participated in the writing of this report, nor do they necessarily support all the views stated in this report. We consulted with allies to learn about their work during Roundhouse sessions and to get their input on legislation of shared interest. We also relied on allies, as experts in their respective advocacy areas, to help us develop speaking points to advocate for the issues they support and to gather information about the status of legislation as it moved through the session.
This Report Card is intended to be a tool to help volunteer advocates understand how the state legislature works, where the levers of power reside, how bills pass or fail, and who is most responsible for legislation passing or failing. We originally intended to publish a traditional scorecard with grades on legislators. But after months of deliberation on the fate of the 28 Must-Pass and 18 Priority bills we supported and review after review of committee votes and floor votes, we realized that vote tallies did not tell the story. The Roundhouse is much more complex and mysterious than that. And so we have produced a different kind of Report Card that we feel met our original goal of making a complex and often obtuse process more understandable. The Report Card concludes with a list of suggested actions that volunteer advocates can take now and over the next 18 months to prepare for the 2020 legislative session and the 2020 primary and general elections.
We shared a draft of the Report Card with people who have extensive experience at the Roundhouse, and here are just a few of their comments:
“Retake Our Democracy has put out a comprehensive report card that goes beyond typical report cards and delves into the legislative process and inner-workings in New Mexico.”
Viki Harrison, Common Cause
“This Report Card does an excellent job of going beyond the political theater and on-the-record votes to begin to unearth how lobbyists, political insiders and powerful elected officials orchestrate our legislative process. It is a blueprint for how we can restore accountability and people-centered power in our state legislature.”
Eric Griego Former NM State Senator and Executive Director of Working Families Party, New Mexico
“Congratulations to Retake our Democracy for this well-researched report, which will help advocates understand the process and become effective in committee hearings, with legislators, and in electoral work.”
Dede Feldman, Former State Senator, Author of Inside the New Mexico Senate: Boots, Suits and Citizens
We ask that you share this report with others, and that you post a link to it on Twitter and/or Facebook. If you are part of an advocacy group or community organization, we ask that you share it with the group and consider devoting part of a meeting to discussing the findings and the actions the Report Card identifies as needed.
For the Report Card to have an impact, we all need to become more involved in the legislative and election processes that establish the composition of the NM state legislature. Retake has developed a statewide plan and Action Teams to advance that plan. The work can be done anywhere in the state, and most of it can be done from home. If this Report Card inspires you to get more involved, click this link to find out about our strategies and teams and how you can get involved.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy reading the Report Card!