Editorial: Governor's vetoes also changed wording - Albuquerque Journal

Editorial: Governor’s vetoes also changed wording

It was concerning last week when the governor and a bipartisan group of lawmakers got into it over who has authority over spending. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s vetoes stripped $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funding from the state budget. Lawmakers say they have authority appropriating undesignated general funding. The governor contends she does. The courts should clear that issue up.

But the drama goes from bad to worse as the governor didn’t simply veto legislators’ appropriations; she also apparently crossed out a word here and there that directed how public money would be spent. And that, according to the New Mexico Supreme Court, is a big no-no.

In one veto, Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, removed a requirement certain money be used for correctional officer pay raises, allowing her to spend the money more broadly. She also took out language that sought to make $1 million in funding contingent on submission of a cybersecurity plan. N.M. governors are allowed to make line-item vetoes of spending bills but cannot change the meaning of an appropriation. Lujan Grisham, a lawyer who should know better, crossed the same line her predecessor got in trouble for.

In June 2011, the state Supreme Court struck down an attempt by then-Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, to change a dollar amount in the state’s budget bill. As reported in the Journal, “top-ranking Democratic lawmakers contended Martinez overstepped her constitutional authority with the line-item veto in April, which reduced funding for oversight of regional housing authorities from $150,000 to $50,000.” A unanimous court agreed.

Regarding the current debate, if the Legislature as a whole fails to act, individual lawmakers could and should file a lawsuit seeking clarity, especially now that it’s been reported Lujan Grisham actually altered language. With over a billion dollars and constitutional powers at stake, it’s a fight worth having.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Editorial: NM must change state law so killers can't ...
Editorials
Matthew Chavez is serving a 23-year ... Matthew Chavez is serving a 23-year prison term for second-degree murder in the death of an Army vet ...
2
Editorial: NM needs proof that $4.6M in ‘academic coaching’ ...
Editorials
It sounds like a great idea. ... It sounds like a great idea. A big team that can reach out to absentee or stuck-at-home students via ...
3
Editorial: Governor should not grab starring role
Editorials
Lights! Camera! Action! was the traditional ... Lights! Camera! Action! was the traditional cue to members of a film crew at the beginning of a R ...
4
Editorial: Time is now to fix NM pedestrian 'death ...
Editorials
The stretch of south Coors Boulevard ... The stretch of south Coors Boulevard where Brendan McClure was struck and killed by a Bernalillo Cou ...
5
Editorial: Keller best of field
Editorials
Albuquerque is in the midst of ... Albuquerque is in the midst of a surge of violent crime and it's of no solace whatsoever to th ...
6
Webber is the choice for mayor
Editorials
We support Webber's reelection, while hoping ... We support Webber's reelection, while hoping City Hall can move beyond its anti-transparency attitude to become more responsive
7
Editorial: A new stadium has appeal, but proposal needs ...
Editorials
It's not a bad idea. In ... It's not a bad idea. In fact, it's one with considerable appeal and worthy of considerat ...
8
Editorial: Journal picks for the ABQ City Council
Editorials
Today the Journal Editorial Board continues ... Today the Journal Editorial Board continues its endorsements in the Nov. 2 municipal election with i ...
9
Editorial: Journal picks for APS Board of Education
Editorials
This is an important election as ... This is an important election as the state's largest school district faces challenges in how best to educate our children