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Martinez Signs Into Law PEC Redistricting Plan

SANTA FE – Gov. Susana Martinez signed into law Wednesday a redistricting plan for the New Mexico’s low-profile Public Education Commission, meaning at least one redrawn state political map won’t have its fate determined in court.

Martinez, the state’s first-term Republican governor, and the Democratic-controlled Legislature butted heads frequently during the special legislative session on redistricting that ended Sept. 24.

She has already said she will veto the approved redistricting bills for the state Senate and House of Representatives.

In addition, the Legislature didn’t approve any plan for adjusting the district boundaries for New Mexico’s three congressional districts based on recent census figures.

The contention over redistricting has led to at least six lawsuits being filed – in Bernalillo, Santa Fe and Lea counties – since the Legislature adjourned.

In her executive message to House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Nambé, Martinez touted the fact the PEC redistricting measure, a committee substitute for House Bill 16, passed unanimously in both legislative chambers.

“While it is unfortunate that such cooperation did not occur with the bills for those (other) maps, I am pleased to sign this bill that demonstrates bipartisan cooperation,” Martinez wrote.

Martinez is still reviewing the approved redistricting plan for the Public Regulation Commission and is expected to decide by the end of this week whether to sign or veto that bill. She has until Oct. 14 to act on all bills approved by lawmakers in the special session.

The 10-member PEC, whose members don’t receive a state salary and which currently has two vacancies, is in charge of reviewing applications for new charter schools and deciding whether to approve them.

The redistricting plan signed into law Wednesday for the PEC makes several changes to current districts, including adjusting the boundaries of a district that now encompasses the state’s entire East side.

However, the map maintains three Albuquerque-based districts.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal