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New rules in effect to attend legislative session in person


The New Mexico Legislative Council Service (LCS) announced new vaccination-requirement rules governing in-person attendance at the session of the New Mexico Legislature that began Jan. 18 and will continue through Feb. 17 at the state capitol in Santa Fe.

Here are the specific requirements, as announced by LCS:

A member of the public ("individual") wishing to enter the state capitol must provide a government-issued photo ID and adequate proof of being fully vaccinated (up-to-date vaccination) against Covid-19 unless the individual qualifies for an exemption.

For the purposes of this vaccination requirement policy, an individual will be considered fully vaccinated

(or up-to-date vaccination) if the individual has completed the initial series and is not yet eligible for a booster or has received a booster when eligible, specifically:

  • two Pfizer-BioNTech doses given at least 21 days apart and given within the past five months;
  • two Moderna doses given at least 28 days apart and given within the past five months;
  • one Johnson & Johnson/Janssen dose given within the past two months; or
  • a booster after the five-month period following the Pfizer or Moderna series or a booster after the two-month period following the Johnson & Johnson series.

An individual who claims to be fully vaccinated but cannot provide adequate proof will be advised to use the individual's personal electronic device to access www.vaxviewnm.org to obtain a record of that individual's vaccination record before entry is permitted into the state capitol.

An individual may be exempt from the Covid-19 vaccination requirement if the individual has a documented qualifying medical condition, disability-related condition or a sincerely held religious belief and provides adequate proof of a negative PCR Covid-19 test within the previous 48 hours. Rapid, antigen or home tests are not acceptable as proof of a negative Covid-19 test.

To be eligible for an exemption due to:

  • a qualifying medical condition, the individual must provide a statement from a physician, nurse practitioner or other medical professional licensed to practice in New Mexico stating that the individual qualifies for the exemption and indicating the probable duration of the individual's inability to receive the vaccination;
  • a disability, the individual must provide documentation from a physician, nurse practitioner or other medical professional licensed in New Mexico stating that the individual has a disability that necessitates an accommodation and the probable duration of the need for the accommodation; or
  • a sincerely held religious belief, the individual must provide a statement regarding the manner in which the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine conflicts with the religious observance, practice or belief of the individual.

If the screening process for the vaccination requirement determines that an individual entering the state capitol has met the requirements for an exemption, the unvaccinated individual shall provide adequate proof that the individual has tested negative for Covid-19 based on a PCR test within 48 hours prior to entering the state capitol.

Visit www.nmlegis.gov/ and click on “Webcast” to follow the session online.

Additional safeguards

  • The active New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) public health orders and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, in addition to any guidelines set forth LCS, will be followed for the protection and health and safety of all within the building.
  • The most recent NMDOH publication, Policies for the Prevention and Control of Covid-19 in New Mexico, was issued Jan. 10, 2022. Visit https://cv.nmhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/ EPI-COVID19-Containment-Policies-1.10.2022-1.pdf.
  • Masks are required and must be worn throughout the building. Masks must entirely cover the nose and mouth. KN95 and N95 masks are strongly recommended or at least a mask with two or more layers of breathable fabric.
  • Individual vendors (e.g., jewelry, crafts, artwork, food) will not be allowed in the capitol.
  • Displays, booths, presentations and performances will not be allowed in the rotunda or elsewhere in the capitol.
  • No tours of the capitol will be conducted or allowed.
  • The first floor of the state capitol will be limited to legislators and legislative staff. Access for others will be by appointment only.
  • Media galleries and public galleries will be open for the media and the public, respectively.
  • Social distancing of at least six feet is strongly recommended throughout the capitol.
  • The number of public entrances may be reduced after 5:30 p.m., depending on floor and committee proceedings.
  • Please practice frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer.
  • Anyone experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 should not enter the building. Symptoms may include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. Additional information can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.

Screening for firearms

Per Legislative Council Policy No. 26, beginning Dec. 6, 2021, all firearms, including concealed handguns, explosives or other deadly weapons are prohibited in the state capitol with limited exceptions. Security staff will conduct the screening of members of the public entering the building. Magnetometers (or metal detectors) are placed at the public entrances.