If you are interested in the most inner workings of state government, today's Your NM Government update is just for you! The work Wednesday in the Roundhouse was somewhat overshadowed by technical problems with the virtual proceedings. But a lot of the business that was considered had to do with how the sausage is made, so to speak. Here's a quick rundown of what we talked about in today's update:
Senate Bill 74 - This is a measure designed to curb the Governor's powers during a public emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic. This is something Republican lawmakers have been critical of nearly throughout the past year, but it has languished in the Senate for nearly three weeks. Bottom line, there was a push to take a vote in the full Senate, but it failed 14-24. It does not seem likely to get that vote, either, before the session ends, as Governor Lujan Grisham has indicated she would likely veto it if approved by lawmakers.
House Bill 4 – This is the New Mexico Civil Rights Act that came out of this summer's Black Lives Matter protests. Part of the call for police reform included getting rid of the legal protection of qualified immunity for officers and other government employees. It did make it out of Senate Judiciary yesterday with changes, but will there be enough time to get this over the finish line?
House Bill 2 - This is the top priority of any legislative session, the budget. It has already been approved by the House, but the Senate Finance Committee is apparently interested in some tweaks, especially to add more money to the Opportunity Scholarship program and Lottery Scholarship program. Lots of support, but the committee still has to officially vote on these changes, before it would head to the full Senate for a vote.
House Joint Resolution 12 - This one is a nearly annual affair, and would change our status as the only remaining citizen legislature. If approved, it would allow voters to decide if lawmakers should start drawing a salary, instead of the daily per diem they now receive for travel and expenses. This measure passed the full House on a 44-24 vote, but now heads to the Senate where it has floundered in recent years.
Keep an eye today on the Senate Finance Committee, which is scheduled to meet about 30 minutes after the full Senate Floor Session. They may get to HJR1, the measure to tap the Permanent Land Grant Fund to pay for early childhood education programs, but only the clock knows for sure!
The Senate is back today at 11, and the House meets at 2:30pm.
Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage comes from the New Mexico Local News Fund, the Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners like you, with support for public media provided by the Thornburg Foundation.