89.9 FM Live From The University Of New Mexico
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

NM judges will get a raise if the governor approves it this time

New Mexico Supreme Court Bench.png
NMcourts.gov live stream
The New Mexico Supreme Court bench. Justices are poised to get an 18% raise in a bill passed by the House on Wednesday. The governor still must sign it, however, and she vetoed the court's raises last year.

The New Mexico House on Wednesday approved raises for state supreme court justices and lower court judges. The bill now heads to the governor who vetoed a similar proposal last year.

At the beginning of the legislative session in January, Chief Justice C. Shannon Bacon delivered a State of the Judiciary address. In it she called for lawmakers in the co-equal branch of government to give her and others on the bench a raise.

“It is consistently reported that low salaries interfere with the competitive recruitment of judges from private practice,” she said. “Passing this legislation will improve the judiciary’s ability to recruit and retain high-quality judges with diverse practice backgrounds.”

Senate Bill 2 would tie the state supreme court justices’ salaries to that of federal magistrate judges who make around $214,000 dollar annually, according to a fiscal analysis of the bill. That would amount to an 18% bump.

State law dictates that judges in the court of appeals, district court and metropolitan court earn a certain percentage of what the high court Justices do, so lower court judges would also get a raise if the bill becomes law, with the exception of magistrates.

The House passed the bill on a 64-3 vote. It now heads to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham who pocket vetoed judicial raises last year by not signing the measure sent to her by the Legislature.

“There have been communications between the judiciary and the governor since last year’s session, since the veto,” said Sen. Joseph Cervantes, one of the bill’s sponsors, when the bill was heard in the Senate. “I think there’s a greater sense of commitment from the governor to the legislation this year.”

He said he’s confident Lujan Grisham will sign it this time around.

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
Related Content