Lawmakers ask high court to keep Legislature open to public

New Mexico

New Mexico statehouse staff talk during a break on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, at the New Mexico Rotunda in Santa Fe, N.M. State lawmakers are racing through the final days of a 30-day Legislative session, which ends Thursday. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican legislators and a handful of Democrats are decrying as unconstitutional a plan to close off public access to the New Mexico Statehouse during a special legislative session.

Twenty-two legislators on Thursday petitioned the state Supreme Court to prevent the Legislature from the move intended as a precaution against the coronavirus.

Webcasts of committee meetings and floor debates would be available under a plan devised this week by a panel of leading House and Senate lawmakers.

But a group of mostly Republican legislators says precautions such as physical distancing and face masks would work.

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