Legislature's output highest since 2013 session - Albuquerque Journal

Legislature’s output highest since 2013 session

SANTA FE – Nearly 280 bills made it to Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk this session – a big rebound from two years ago, when the Legislature was divided between a Republican-majority House and a Democratic Senate.

But the number of bills passed this year is roughly in line with what she received in 2011 and 2013 – the first 60-day sessions of her tenure.

Still, this year’s session didn’t produce as many bills as the Bill Richardson and Gary Johnson eras, the two governors who preceded Martinez. It was common for lawmakers in the 1990s and early 2000s to pass more than 400 bills during a 60-day session.

Regardless, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said this week that it’s unwise to judge a session’s productivity based on the raw number of bills.

Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, noted that ethics and campaign-finance legislation made it through both chambers for the first time after years of effort. The ethics commission had been debated for decades.

Other important legislation among the 277 bills passed, he said, included measures banning the use of “conversion therapy” aimed at changing a young person’s sexual orientation and making it easier for transgender people to change the gender recorded on their birth certificates.

“I definitely think it was a worthwhile session,” Wirth said.

House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, said the new Democratic majority in his chamber fulfilled its promises to pass a minimum-wage increase and encourage the development of high-speed internet networks, in addition to passing the ethics and campaign-disclosure bills.

“I’m incredibly proud of the Legislature,” he said.

Martinez, a Republican in her second term, reiterated her criticism that legislators wasted time. She has vowed to veto the budget they passed – partly because it includes tax increases.

“If the people of New Mexico knew lawmakers were spending their time debating and arguing over holiday songs and official state dances, they would be disgusted,” Martinez spokesman Michael Lonergan said. “They must have had a lot of fun, but it was at the taxpayers’ expense. What a waste of 60 days.”

The governor has until April 7 to decide whether to sign or veto most bills passed by the Legislature – such as proposals to impose new limits on the small-loan industry, consolidate nonpartisan elections and prohibit the use of solitary confinement for some inmates. She has already suggested she will veto two competing proposals to increase the minimum wage.

The ethics commission, which is a proposed constitutional amendment, doesn’t require the governor’s signature. It goes to voters in 2018.

Martinez over the weekend allowed two bills to become law – one authorizing the New Mexico Finance Authority to make loans for certain water projects, the other clearing the way for license plates honoring fallen police officers.

House Minority Whip Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, said he was disappointed by the Legislature’s production. But the ethics legislation, he agreed, was a bright spot.

“We passed a lot of license plate bills,” he said.


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

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Sunport overhaul will bring refreshed food, retail area
ABQnews Seeker
Keller: Biggest renovation in 30 years ... Keller: Biggest renovation in 30 years set to begin early next year https://www.abqjournal.com/2464073/sunport-remodel-bringing-after-checkpoint-food-court.html Sunport overhaul will bring
2
Sandia workers honored by Society of Women Engineers
ABQnews Seeker
Group has worked to support women ... Group has worked to support women in their careers for over 70 years
3
FBI seeks suspected bank robber who wears just one ...
ABQnews Seeker
Man has robbed, or tried to ... Man has robbed, or tried to rob, at least three ABQ-area banks this month
4
Man charged in 2021 ABQ homicide
ABQnews Seeker
Other charges include armed robbery, tampering ... Other charges include armed robbery, tampering with evidence and conspiracy
5
Governor sends $4,200 excess campaign donation to state fund
ABQnews Seeker
Lujan Grisham is up for reelection ... Lujan Grisham is up for reelection this fall; GOP will pick nominee in June 7 primary
6
Rain, snow, cooler temps likely for New Mexico this ...
ABQnews Seeker
The weekend is expected to be ... The weekend is expected to be mostly sunny, with high temps of 50-52 degrees
7
Man sentenced to 6 years for burying the bodies ...
ABQnews Seeker
Three other men alleged to have ... Three other men alleged to have killed the teens are scheduled to stand trial in
8
NM reports nearly 15,000 new cases and 33 deaths ...
ABQnews Seeker
Positivity rate remains high, with just ... Positivity rate remains high, with just over 30% of all COVID tests coming back positive
9
Move to pay NM's elected officials to involve ethics ...
ABQnews Seeker
Proposal cleared Senate committee 7-1, heads ... Proposal cleared Senate committee 7-1, heads to Judiciary Committee