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Udall makes his mark on Washington

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE – What happened to the big filibuster reform New Mexico’s U.S. Sen. Tom Udall was going to introduce on the first day of this session of Congress?
We were told that the motion had to be acted on during the first day of a congressional session when changes to a chamber’s operating rules are in order and can be changed by majority vote rather than the 60 percent vote so often required these days.
The answer is that Udall got his rule change introduced with 14 cosponsors, including New Mexico’s new senator, Martin Heinrich. The rules change awaited action for three weeks because the legislative day never changed.
How could that be? Congress and many state legislatures have rules requiring a waiting period between certain actions on bills. But sometimes they want to rush a bill through so they save some legislative days early in a session.
Legislative days in New Mexico begin and end at noon – theoretically. In actuality, they begin and end when the speaker of the House or majority floor leader of the Senate deems it convenient for moving bills along. It is called “rolling the clock.”
The majority leader of the chamber will rise and say, “It now being 11:59 of the 1st legislative day, I move we adjourn until 12:01 of the 2nd legislative day.


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