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I. Rules for Continued Functioning of National Legislature in an Emergency
Mexico’s Senate and House of Representatives have broad powers to expedite the legislative process when it becomes necessary to address urgent and pressing matters while the Congress is in session. Before Congress goes to recess, it appoints a group of legislators (19 representatives and 18 senators) to a committee tasked with a number of legislative duties that are to be discharged while the full Congress is not in session. Some of these duties are of an urgent nature, such as summoning Congress to session if a pressing matter arises and administering the oath of office to Mexico’s President in extraordinary circumstances.
In addition, Mexico’s Constitution provides that in cases of invasion, grave disturbance to public order, or any other circumstance that puts the Mexican people in grave danger, the President may order, with approval from Congress, the restriction or suspension of certain rights of citizens that may be an obstacle to government actions needed to address the situation. Congress has the authority to set limits for these measures and to declare an end to them. As of March 23, 2020, measures of this nature have not been taken by the Mexican Congress.
II. Arrangements for a Subgroup to Perform Functions of Congress
No information on current or potential arrangements whereby a designated subgroup of members would constitute an “emergency Congress” with devolved powers from the whole Congress was located (as of March 23, 2020).
III. Current Arrangements for Congress to Continue Work During the Pandemic
On March 19, 2020, Mexico’s House of Representatives announced that it had allowed its members to travel to their respective districts and continue working remotely to the extent possible, in an effort to avoid the risks of contracting COVID-19. Thus, the House will stop holding regular sessions until further notice. However, members will be permitted to file bills and conduct work performed in committees remotely.
As of March 19, 2020, Mexico’s Senate continued to be in session under a number of sanitary measures, including
- using face masks;
- monitoring the temperature of individuals who access the Senate building and conducting medical examinations of their physical condition if deemed necessary;
- limiting legislative activities to work in committees and measures that require intervention by the Senate in plenary session;
- cancellation of travel arrangements for Senators; and
- limiting access to the Senate floor and committee meetings to Senators only.
Other measures include excusing the following categories of staffers from going to work to the Senate’s headquarters:
- pregnant women;
- mothers with children younger than eight years of age;
- adults over 65 years of age; and
- those whose personal conditions put them at risk of contagion.
These staffers will be asked to be reachable through electronic and digital means, in case their support is necessary. Prior to interrupting in-house operations, the House of Representatives adopted comparable sanitary and preventative measures.
Prepared by Gustavo Guerra
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
 Reglamento para el Gobierno Interior del Congreso General de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, Diario Oficial de la Federación (D.O.F.), Mar. 20, 1934, as amended, arts. 29, 42, 59, 60, 71, 109, 142, 159, https://perma.cc/C49G-TWFQ.
 Id. art. 29.
Last Updated: 12/30/2020