- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Officials hosting public meetings would be required to allow time for public comment under a measure introduced by two New Mexico lawmakers.

The measure by Republican Rep. Jim Smith of Sandia Park and Democratic Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto of Albuquerque would amend the state’s Open Meetings Act to require public bodies to set aside a reasonable amount of time for people to speak.

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is throwing its support behind the legislation.

The foundation’s executive director, Susan Boe, says although most public bodies already allow for public comment, problems arose in the state over the last year. She pointed to two federal court decisions in which New Mexico public bodies violated a citizen’s First Amendment rights during a public comment period.

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