Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, a member of the Indian and Cultural Affairs and Rules committees, said he will be paying close attention to a Senate Joint Memorial to re-establish the Chihene Nde Nation of New Mexico as a federally recognized Native American tribe.
SJM 5 reads that “after 1871, the Chihene Nde were no longer recognized as an Indian tribe under United States Indian policy;” however, “descendants of the Chihene Nde ancestors and their families have worked individually to preserve their culture and heritage … to remind everyone that they are still here, living as a distinct people with a common history and culture.”
The memorial has been assigned to the Rules committee and Pirtle said he will be following it for his Mescalero-area constituents.
The Rules committee is an important one, he said, as it is responsible for holding confirmation hearings for positions in the executive branch, such as cabinet members and university regents.
The committee oversees background checks for nominees, he said, “to ensure that we have qualified people in appointed seats and that the public’s best interest is kept in mind.” So far, there are 100 confirmation hearings scheduled.
The Rules committee also hears proposed Constitutional Amendments and bills dealing with elections.
Pirtle also is working on legislation of his own, such as a due process bill that would allow residents of Chaves County to be tried there, instead of in another county.
He said the issue was brought to him by a Roswell resident who was cited in Chaves County, but ordered to appear in an Eddy County court.
Pirtle encourages all of his constituents with similar issues or concerns about certain bills to contact him.
“It’s hard for me to work for them if I don’t know how they feel about issues,” he said. “I think it’s important that we remember that we’re here to represent the citizens and that’s what the job is all about.”
To contact the senator, call 505-986-4862 or email Cliff.Pirtle@nmlegis.gov.