What could possibly be more riveting than scanning proposed state legislation? If you can't find some bill in there to follow you have a life bereft of excitement associated with the mechanics of bill processing, the mystery of deal-making, the hidden meaning behind nearly every vote. Or, maybe you just have a life. Few lists contain so much to alternately horrify, delight and bore depending on your view and mood.
Bill stalking is an art. Of course the New Mexico Legislature website provides the Bill Finder and Bill Locator but I prefer my title. 'Stalking' reflects the thrill of the hunt and how killing bills is actually as big a part of the game as passing them.
You can tell a lot by who introduced the bill. To get irritated, start with members of the party with whom you most often disagree. If you want to find hope and optimism, it's in there too. And sometimes bills aren't about party but are about doing the right thing, like SB63, Mary Kay Papen's bill on racehorse testing standards for example.
Some bills beg for questions. Like what the devil is behind SB70? Pete Campos's bill would change all State Monuments to 'historic sites' which just seems downright wierd and unneccessary. Why rename the Camino Real International Heritage Center? And what about historic sites that aren't historic because they're prehistoric or paleolithic?
See what I mean?
Discovering the context, history and purpose of bills is a hunt worthy of full-time journalists and lobbyists. Wording can be misleading or only hint at the impact. Existing law can be confusing, making bills that amend them even more so. Something that may at first glance look awful could represent a real improvement over what's already on the books. And visa versa. Take all that and inject new personalities into the mix of legislators and it's a recipe for a political feast - or at the very least, messy sausage-making and good stories.