Albuquerque, NM – Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is holding two more public hearings this week on her proposed measure that would limit the First Amendment rights of New Mexicans. The hearings will take place tomorrow in Albuquerque and this Wednesday in Las Cruces.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) opposes Secretary Oliver’s measure due to the chilling effect it would have on New Mexicans’ rights to freely speak and associate, without fear of harassment or intimidation. The proposed rule would force citizens to publicly list personal information in order to support a cause in New Mexico.
CVA Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“Secretary Oliver is attempting to unilaterally undermine the legislative process with a measure that is strikingly similar to the one Governor Martinez smartly rejected. If Secretary Oliver’s new rule is implemented, people will be entered into a government registry that will publicly track what causes they support. To be clear: this is a measure specifically designed to silence New Mexicans by limiting free and open debate. In this country, both public and anonymous speech are protected under the First Amendment. We urge the Secretary to walk back this blatant attempt to violate the principles this country was founded upon.”
CVA recently launched a direct mail and web ad campaign urging New Mexicans to contact Secretary Oliver with a digital tool that allows them to call or email her office in opposition to this anti-free speech measure. CVA also led a coalition of 29 individuals representing 14 different organizations that submitted a letter to the Secretary pledging to protect free speech in New Mexico. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was among the signers urging the Secretary to abandon her measure.
Earlier this year, Governor Martinez vetoed S.B. 96, a similar anti-free speech measure that passed the legislature in April. CVA led a coalition of 11 different organizations and sent a letter to Governor Martinez asking her to reject S.B. 96. The group also launched a targeted digital campaign, including a tool which allowed New Mexico constituents to contact Governor Martinez directly via email, Facebook, Twitter, and phone to warn her about the dangers of S.B. 96.
Last year, CVA launched “Defend the First,” a project focused on protecting the free exchange of information and ideas at the state and federal level.