It is hard to imagine where our great nation would be today without our First Amendment right to free speech. It allows us to express ourselves freely and engage in open debate with our fellow citizens. It is a fundamental right that veterans throughout our history sacrificed to defend.
Unfortunately, free speech has come under assault in New Mexico. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has proposed a measure that would severely limit the free speech rights of New Mexicans. Her rule would force some private organizations and civic groups to reveal the personal information of their members and supporters. Such a rule would leave ordinary citizens open to intimidation from those who disagree with their beliefs.
Back in April, Governor Susana Martinez protected free speech in New Mexico by vetoing a similar measure. Senate Bill 96 – which served as the model for Secretary Oliver’s measure – would have obstructed the free speech rights of New Mexicans through the same tactics. Governor Martinez wisely recognized that unveiling the public information of individuals would discourage citizens from supporting causes and charities they believe in.
Despite the governor ruling against such a law, Secretary Oliver has chosen to unconstitutionally work around New Mexico’s legislative process and move forward with an anti-free speech measure similar to SB 96. If implemented, this measure will shutter open debate in New Mexico and leave citizens who support causes open to harassment from anyone with access to a computer – a startling thought.
This Wednesday, August 30th, New Mexicans will have the opportunity to make their voices heard on this issue – and you can join them.
Secretary Oliver will host a hearing at the State Capitol Building in Santa Fe to review this rule where you will have the opportunity to join like-minded citizens in opposition. The hearing will give you the opportunity to speak out or simply stand alongside New Mexicans who want to protect the First Amendment in their home state.
There is still time to defend free speech in New Mexico, but it will mean sending a clear message to our state’s leaders. You can be a part of that message by attending the hearing Wednesday. Will you take a stand?