Albuquerque, NM – Today Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced that she intends to implement the final version of her anti-free speech measure in early October. The measure forces citizens who support causes to list their names and personal information publicly – leaving them open to harassment and intimidation. This effort represents a massive overreach by Secretary Oliver, who does not have the authority to implement such drastic changes to New Mexico’s laws. Recently, hundreds of New Mexicans submitted comments to Secretary Oliver’s office opposing her revised measure.
Concerned Veterans for America Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“Hundreds of concerned New Mexicans across the state submitted comments to Secretary Oliver urging her to drop this deeply flawed rule, and their voices are being ignored by the same officials entrusted with serving and protecting them.
“This disturbing situation underscores exactly why free speech rights need to be fiercely defended. When the government wants to silence people, it can and often will – and when officials want something unpopular done, they’ll try to circumvent the legislative process. It is existential to our democracy that citizens retain the ability to speak up in the face of this kind of government abuse and oppression.
“Make no mistake: if implemented and left unchallenged, this measure will freeze open debate in New Mexico and expose many citizens to harassment and intimidation over the causes they support.”
After Secretary Oliver released her revised measure earlier this year, CVA launched a digital tool that allows New Mexicans to submit comments to her office.
In July, CVA joined a coalition of 29 individuals representing 14 different organizations that submitted a letter to the Secretary asking her to end her attack on 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 Susana 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.