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Overview of the New Mexico Legislature

The New Mexico Senate convenes at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe in this file photo. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

The New Mexico Senate convenes at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe in this file photo. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico Legislature at a glance:

THE START:

The 2015 Legislature convenes at noon on Tuesday. It’s formally called the first session of the 52nd Legislature

THE FINISH:

The session, as required by the state Constitution, adjourns after 60 calendar days — at noon on Saturday, March 21. The governor has 20 days after adjournment to sign bills passed during the last three days of the session. That deadline is April 10.

THE MAKEUP:

The House has 70 members: 37 Republicans and 33 Democrats. The Senate has 42 members: 25 Democrats and 17 Republicans.

PAY:

The New Mexico Legislature is not salaried. Members receive $165 a day during the session to reimburse them for expenses.

THE AGENDA:

Approving a budget to finance public education and general government programs is a must-do assignment for lawmakers. They also are expected to debate proposals that call for making New Mexico a right-to-work state, boosting spending on early childhood education programs, raising the minimum wage and financing capital improvement projects.

There were 696 bills introduced during the 30-day session in 2014. Of those bills, 91 were passed by the Legislature. Eighty-one measures were enacted, and the governor vetoed 10.

POLITICS:

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, the nation’s only Latina governor and a rising star within the Republican Party, is coming into the session after cruising to an easy re-election victory in November over Democratic challenger Gary King with nearly 58 percent of the vote. No New Mexico GOP governor had won with more than 55 percent during the past half century. Joining Martinez will be a GOP-led House, something the state hasn’t seen in 60 years.

LEARNING MORE:

Contact lawmakers by calling the legislative switchboard: (505) 986-4300. Find bills, committee schedules, lists of members and a link for webcasts of House and Senate proceedings on the Legislature’s Web Site: http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/default.aspx

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