NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday that she will call a special legislative session prior to Thanksgiving. The governor said the goal of the special session will be to provide COVID-19 relief for businesses and New Mexicans.
The state still has about $300-million in federal CARES Act money. The governor wants it spent on grants for small businesses as well as benefits like an extra $300 dollars a week for four weeks for unemployed New Mexicans. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are eager to get that money to New Mexicans and have other ideas, too.
“I think we need to provide more resources for more testing, quicker turnaround on testing, for more responsible contact tracing,” said Rep. James Townsend (R- Artesia).
“We’re looking at the possibility of including some additional funding for the health department to make sure New Mexico is ready to receive, store and deploy a vaccine, so there’s going to be potentially additional money in this package included for them,” said Rep. Brian Egolf (D- Speaker of the House).
The special session is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Nov. 24 and lawmakers expect it will only last one day. The Roundhouse will be closed to the public during that time. The governor says she knows it’s a tough time to bring legislators back to Santa Fe but said it’s necessary so the state can quickly provide economic aid to those who need it. The governor also says she hopes to start getting the “money out the door” by Monday, Nov. 30.
This would be the state’s second special session during the pandemic.