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Bidding Law Fix Put On Agenda

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Lawmakers, along with Gov. Susana Martinez, will get a second chance in a special legislative session this year to make changes to a controversial law meant to provide local businesses with a preference in bidding for government contracts.

Martinez said Tuesday that she will include a bill in the special session that would close a loophole in the in-state preference law that allows out-of-state businesses to receive the same preference with a minimal state presence.

“This legislation will assist local companies in receiving contracts with the state and create a more competitive playing field for businesses that have chosen to set up shop in New Mexico and hire our workers,” Martinez said in a statement.

Martinez’s spokesman, Scott Darnell, said Tuesday that Martinez also is considering placing controversial legislation that would stop the practice of allowing illegal immigrants to receive licenses in New Mexico, legislation that would help the state’s unemployment fund stay solvent and an appropriations bill that failed in the final minutes of the regular legislative session on the special session agenda.

The special session is being called to use newly released census data to redraw the lines for state and federal elected officials’ districts, but the governor can place other issues on the agenda.

The governor vetoed a measure that would have closed the in-state preference loophole after it passed through the Legislature earlier this year. She said one line in Senate Bill 19 would have had the unintended consequence of forcing private businesses located on state land to comply with the state’s procurement code, but she otherwise supported it.

Martinez said after the veto that she was considering placing the issue on the special session agenda.

Sen. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Larry LarraƱaga, R-Albuquerque, co-sponsored Senate Bill 19 in the regular legislative session.

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