Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s recent announcement of yet another special legislative session in New Mexico, set to commence on July 18, 2024, ostensibly aims to enhance public safety—an objective no reasonable person would oppose. However, the words of Gideon J. Tucker resonate profoundly in moments like these: “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”

In light of this maxim, we must scrutinize the Governor’s decision to recall our state legislators to Santa Fe. It is imperative to ask: Will this special session genuinely serve the public or merely expand governmental overreach under the guise of public safety?

“No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”

Gideon J. Tucker

Governor Lujan Grisham indicates that the session is a direct continuation of efforts from a prior 30-day legislative meeting, suggesting an urgent need to implement “additional statutory changes” to combat the risks facing our communities. The rhetoric is compelling, yet experience teaches us that such sessions often lead to hurried decisions with long-lasting impacts, made with minimal public scrutiny.

The Governor’s openness to legislative input is commendable. However, one cannot help but wonder about the nature and breadth of the proposals that will be considered. The specifics of these “best proposals” remain veiled in generalities, raising concerns about their implications for personal freedoms and economic health.

Historically, special sessions in New Mexico—and, indeed, across the United States—have mixed track records. While they sometimes address genuinely urgent matters, they also frequently result in the rapid passage of legislation that might have benefited from more thorough debate and public input. Given this is the fifth special session called during Governor Lujan Grisham’s tenure, the pattern suggests a governance style leaning towards centralization and urgency over deliberative democracy.

As we approach the July session, the citizens of New Mexico must remain vigilant. We should demand transparency and accountability from our legislators and critically assess whether the proposed measures make our lives safer—or if they tighten the government’s grip on our daily lives. Let us not forget Tucker’s warning, for the health of our republic and the safeguarding of our liberties depend upon our active, informed engagement.

While the promise of a safer New Mexico is alluring, we must cautiously approach such promises, remembering that our freedoms are at stake with each legislative session. The question is not whether we will be safer but at what cost to our liberty and autonomy.

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