Albuquerque City Council to consider major expansion of “emergency powers” tonight

Rahm Emmanuel once said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

The Albuquerque City Council is considering a “new” ordinance (actually amending its existing ordinance) to dramatically expand the powers of the Mayor to regulate or outright ban certain activities including public meetings and assemblies in times of civil unrest or potential civil unrest (or threatened epidemics).

The City ALREADY has a broad ordinance on the books which allows the Mayor to “Order the discontinuance of selling, distributing, dispensing or giving away of any firearms or ammunition of any character whatsoever, or in the alternative, order the closing of all establishments or portions thereof where arms and/or ammunition are kept for sale or distribution.”

The new version would expand those powers to allow for the Mayor to act in “An actual or eminent outbreak, or reasonable threat of an actual or eminent outbreak, of any infectious disease that presents an unusual threat to the health or safety of the residents of the City, or threatens to unreasonably strain the medical or emergency service resources available in the City.

The entire ordinance (which is currently the information that is not underlined or struck, that is the new material) is pretty aggressive. Do we want the Mayor to be able to take on a lot of new powers due to the “reasonable threat of an ’eminent’ outbreak?” It is a big question. There has been zero public debate or discussion on the issue and it will be voted on at the Council meeting the evening of Monday, March 16.

Because of said epidemic public comment is NOT being done in person at the meeting Monday night. Instead, you can use the following link specifically for this meeting to contact your City Councilors to let them know what you think.

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