Friday, February 21, 2003
Senators Clash Over Redrawing District Maps
By Loie Fecteau
Journal Politics Writer
SANTA FE The state Senate on Thursday got into a tussle over whether legislators should try to redo New Mexico's political redistricting maps, which were completed a year ago at a taxpayer cost of more than $4 million.
At issue was a new bill (SB 846) introduced by Senate Majority Whip Mary Jane Garcia, D-Doña Ana, and Sen. Joe Carraro, R-Albuquerque, that would redraw the state Senate's 42 districts using the 2000 Census.
The bill comes on the heels of another bill (SB 667), which would revisit New Mexico's congressional redistricting, decided last year by a state judge. The congressional bill is stalled in the Senate Rules Committee.
"We want to look at it (Senate redistricting) again because I thought it wasn't the fairest plan when it was adopted," Garcia said.
Carraro said he is unhappy with his new district boundaries, which were part of a compromise plan hammered out by a bipartisan group of senators last year.
The Senate subsequently voted 30-10 to send the Garcia-Carraro bill to two committees.
Senate President Pro Tem Richard Romero, D-Albuquerque, said later he thinks the Senate is unable to redo its own redistricting be-cause, unlike the congressional map, the Senate plan was approved by the Legislature and signed into law by former Gov. Gary Johnson.
"It's been signed, sealed and delivered," Romero said.