Late Friday night, New Mexico House Democrats reaffirmed their lack of respect for the House of Representatives as a legislative body, and in turn, revealed their lack of respect for the New Mexicans they supposedly “represent” in the chamber.
House Bill 8, a far-reaching piece of unenforceable legislation, mandating stringent background checks to purchase firearms passed the New Mexico House of Representatives after the 3-hour debate period was stopped by Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, an explicit violation of House rules.
The sponsor of House Bill 8, Democrat Representative Debra Sariñana, who represents the warzone (also referred to as the ‘international district’) could not answer a single question without whispering in the ear of her prompter, Raul Torrez, the District Attorney of Albuquerque. Sariñana, who claims to be an educator, clearly didn’t do her homework on researching her bill.
Egolf, who has repeatedly made a mockery of the House by telling off-color jokes and playing childish games, once again sat on his throne, speaking down to Republican members of the House, breaking House rules, and ignoring members when they rose to state points of personal privilege.
At one point, Representative Rehm offered an amendment to House Bill 8 but was immediately struck down by Egolf, who claimed the amendment would change the bill’s purpose, therefore, it was disregarded. Rehm challenged the decision, which was appealed to the House parliamentarian, Democrat Representative Damon Ely. Ely upheld Egolf’s decision, and the House continued.
After a Call of the House, which is a procedure where each member of the House is required to be in the chamber, Egolf took up a motion for a vote on House Bill 8, although a Republican member was not yet in the chamber. Majority Leader Sheryl Stapleton hollered at the top of her lungs (which may I add are very loud) to “lock that door,” so that Republican members could not leave the chamber.
Majority Leader Stapleton called for Speaker Egolf to excuse the representative, citing House rule 7-5. The motion advanced to a vote, which passed due to an overwhelming Democrat majority. Egolf continued to prompt a motion for final passage of House Bill 8, ignoring any dissent from the minority.
Frustration was heard far and wide in the chamber, with evident dissatisfaction on the Left and the Right. Egolf’s antics proved to both Democrats and Republicans, legislators and onlookers alike that Egolf thinks he is above the law, and because he sits on his little throne with his little gavel that he can do whatever he wants.
As Representative Jason Harper said to Egolf in a point of order, “You obviously have the numbers to ram through whatever you want. And all the minority has is three hours of debate, and we didn’t even get that. So, it makes me wonder why I’m even here, Mr. Speaker.” Speaker Egolf brushed Harper aside, and gave the excuse that the representative who was on their way to the floor should have been in the chamber, and that “15 minutes … is ample time.”
The entire debacle can be found below:
Egolf’s arrogant, disrespectful, and hostile way of doing business shows New Mexicans that he doesn’t care about the rest of the state other than his privileged little solid blue district, consisting of spoiled liberals. He would rather ram through a piece of ill-conceived legislation, sponsored by a woman who has not even read her own bill than merely follow the House rules that every member of the chamber agreed upon so that he could get back to his fancy house and sleep in his fancy bed, not a five minute drive from the Capitol.
The reason people hate politicians is that of people like Egolf, who sit in their ivory towers and look down upon people who simply ask to have their voices heard in the confines of the rules. Just like in a February 1st Judiciary Committee hearing, where 250+ people traveled from all corners of the state to have their voices heard against a radical abortion bill, under Egolf’s direction, Chairwoman Gail Chasey brushed off a majority of the public, only allowing a half hour for each side to speak.
By silencing the people, and their duly-elected representatives, Egolf destroys democracy, and creates a disastrous precedent for others to break the rules and erode the legislative process, which is supposed to be comprised of the people, and for the people. I urge every one of you reading this to call Speaker Egolf’s and Majority Leader Stapleton’s offices and demand they issue a public apology to the entire body of the legislature on the House floor.
Never in New Mexico’s history, from Democrat Ben Luján to Republican Don Tripp, has a Speaker of the House shown such disregard for procedure, and a lack of respect for the state at large. Shame on Speaker Egolf, and shame on Majority Leader Stapleton.
We must prepare for 2020, with reasonable candidates on both sides of the aisle to run against politicians like Egolf, who have grown (or in Egolf’s case always have been) out of touch with New Mexico and its great people. In this state, where we have such rich culture, resources, and tradition, we deserve better in our leaders, since they should represent us. Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we should at least have enough respect for each other to follow the rules that were agreed upon.
To quote John D. Rockefeller, “I believe in the sacredness of a promise, that a man’s word should be as good as his bond, that character—not wealth or power or position—is of supreme worth.” I would rather live a life of character and virtue than constantly bring people down to pull myself up like Egolf is doing to ram his partisan agenda through the House. Is pushing an agenda more important than sacrificing one’s principles? Those are definitely not New Mexico values.
Contact Speaker Brian Egolf, Majority Leader Stapleton, and Rep. Sariñana Here:
Brian Egolf: (505) 986-4782 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheryl Stapleton: (505) 986-4780 | email@example.com
Debra Sariñana: (505) 986-4227 | firstname.lastname@example.org