Law & Order :: Tips for Getting a Bill Passed in New Mexico


Starting in 2020, I worked to get a bill passed in New Mexico. And succeeded.

For years I’ve wanted to start a home bakery. But Albuquerque was one of the only places in the country where it was illegal. I had pretty much given up after being told the city wasn’t interested in changing the restrictions.

But when COVID hit, it made me rethink my plans and gave me the opportunity to work on changing the law. After just five months and A LOT of hard work, we got the bill passed. Now bakers in New Mexico can start their own business out of their homes. And my dream is actually happening! If you’re passionate about an issue and want to create change, I’ve got some tips for you.

Here’s what I learned in my experience helping a bill become law in New Mexico.

Law & Order :: Tips for Getting a Bill Passed in New Mexico || Albuquerque Mom Collective

Do Your Research

There are two areas to focus on here.

First, do your research on your issue.

A lot of officials were surprised by how much I knew about cottage food laws. As a result, more of them were willing to take me seriously and listen.

Learn as much as you can. What’s the history of this issue? What are the current laws? Are they different in other states? How has that benefited those places? This will enable you to answer as many questions as possible.

Give the legislators reasons this bill would be beneficial to them and the people they represent.

Woman choosing book

Next, do your research on what it takes to get a bill passed.

Know the process. This will help you know who to contact and when to contact them. And it will minimize your frustration. You can check out the State Legislature Handbook to see the process. But this article from Forward Together really helps explain it in an easy-to-understand way.

Find a Professional to Help

Getting a law passed is complicated.

To start, I reached out to The Institute for Justice. They are a non-profit that has done a lot of work in food laws around the country. After that their lawyers did most of the legal work. From finding legislators to support the bill to helping write it, they were essential.

Law & Order :: Tips for Getting a Bill Passed in New Mexico || Albuquerque Mom Collective

Whatever your bill focuses on, find a lawyer to be on your side. Start by searching the name of your issue with “non-profit.” You’ll likely find a lawyer who is able to help.

And don’t forget about the legislators! You will need a sponsor for the bill.

Find one who is passionate about your issue. They will help convince other legislators to vote for your changes when it reaches the House or Senate floor.

Woman doing research

Involve Friends and Family

I could not have gotten this law passed without the help of my family and friends.

When I started working on the bill, I got a list of friends and family willing to help me. After that whenever the bill went to a new committee, I wrote to these people and asked them to send an email to the committee members. I also posted on Facebook and Instagram asking others to email as well.

Make it easy for them.

I sent a form email that they could personalize if they wanted. Then I included the representatives’ emails. All they had to do was copy and paste.

Law & Order :: Tips for Getting a Bill Passed in New Mexico || Albuquerque Mom Collective

I’m not going to lie. This is not an easy task.

I spent a lot of time emailing and making calls. You’ll face setbacks and disappointment. And a lot of bills don’t pass.

But the good news is average people CAN make change happen.

Democracy isn’t just about legislators and government officials. It’s about citizens getting involved and fighting for what they believe in. So stand up and fight. Get involved.

And get that bill passed.

Originally published July 2021.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.