Once a week during the legislative session, Journal Capitol Bureau reporters will answer questions posed by readers. You can submit questions at the Journal’s website: ABQJournal.com/legislature.
Q. Can you explain … if bills can be signed immediately or have to wait until the end?
– Michelle Ethridge
A. It all depends on when a bill is passed by both chambers of the Legislature.
If a bill reaches the governor’s desk before the final 72 hours of a legislative session, the governor has three days upon receipt to either sign or veto it. If she does nothing, the bill automatically becomes law.
But the rules are different for bills that hit the governor’s desk during the final three days of a session – or after a session ends.
In that case, the governor has until 20 days after the session ends – or April 7 of this year – to act on bills approved by lawmakers.
If the governor does not sign a bill by that deadline, it is automatically nullified under what’s known as a “pocket veto.”
There were five pocket vetoes issued by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham last year, including one of a measure that would have boosted the pay of New Mexico judges.