A Warm Roundhouse Welcome for MPP Students

Evaluation Lab News

Posted: Mar 04, 2019 - 12:00am

The New Mexico Roundhouse is nothing short of chaos this time of year. The 2019 legislative session is in full swing for 60 days and everyone and their mother comes to the Legislature in hopes of making an impression that will help build the policy for the upcoming year.

MPP students started the day early with a drive to Santa Fe to get in on the action. After getting lost in the confusion of a literal loop of a building, we were fortunate enough to sit down for the full Senate Education Committee hearing. We were able to watch the full process of getting bills through committee. We witnessed the jeers, tears, and cheers for SB 429: Virtual Charter Schools, SB 431: Northern NM College Branch College, and SB 341: Transfer Completed Course Work.

We saw the community come forward with issues they cared about and we got a sense of who the legislators are. Outside of the playful banter between Committee Chair William P. Soules and Ranking Member Craig W. Brandt, some notable only in New Mexico details were Senator Mimi Stewart’s bright turquoise pants and Senator Bill O’Neil’s sparkling Red Rock necklace. 

After the committee hearing, staff at the Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) set up a Q&A session for us with legislators and staff. Senator Soules spoke about the difficulty of navigating bills through the legislature and tactics he has used in the past to effectively pass the bills he felt were important. Raúl E. Burciaga of the Legislative Council Service gave a presentation about how bills are created. The discussion continued with LESC Director Rachel Gudgel and program evaluators and policy analysts from the LESC and the Legislative Finance Committee, including our very own MPP student Marit Rogne, who currently works as a Senior Analyst for the LESC.

We want to reach out a special thank you to Marit for helping make such a wonderful day possible and to everyone else who took time out of their extremely busy day to talk to us.