Meeting notice extension helps rural residents

Gov. Susana Martinez and New Mexico lawmakers have taken a major step to increase public awareness and participation in government meetings across the state.

Martinez signed HB 21, sponsored by Rep. James E. Smith, R-Sandia Park, and Sen. Daniel A. Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, which passed each chamber unanimously. It increases the required notice of a public meeting agenda — including city councils and school boards — to 72 hours from 24.

As the governor said, the old requirement was "not enough time for someone to travel to another city or to speak on the issue that affects their community, their family or their business."

The new notice "gives New Mexicans the time to participate in the process."

The expanded notice serves rural and urban New Mexicans alike — often more than a single day's notice is needed to make the necessary work, child-care and travel arrangements to participate in the Democratic process.

New Mexico's lawmakers and governor deserve credit for unanimously acknowledging that busy and/or isolated residents deserve the notice required to participate in their government.

— Albuquerque Journal

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