10 Bills to Become Law: Supreme Court Determines Governor Martinez Did Not Follow Proper Procedure in Last Year’s Veto Attempt
(Santa Fe, NM) – Ten bills that Governor Susana Martinez attempted to veto last year became law today after the Supreme Court ruled that objections to bills must accompany them when vetoed. Shortly after oral arguments, the judges returned to the courtroom with their decision. Chief Justice Nakamura said that there was no factual dispute and that this was a pure question of law, then affirmed that the State Constitution requires that the objections to bills, when vetoed, must accompany them when returned to the legislative body.
“Obviously the Executive can exercise her veto authority, but the ruling today makes it clear that it has to be done right,” said Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth. “The Constitution means something, and this now sets a very important precedent. I don’t think you’ll ever see a governor make this mistake again. I’m glad that these 10 pieces of legislation are now on the books.”
“The bills that are becoming law because of today's Supreme Court decision are going to have positive and lasting impacts on the state of New Mexico. House Democrats have sponsored bills to increase the health care workforce by making medical careers more financially manageable, to expand access to computer science education for high school students, and to aid in the development of industrial hemp research programs. It's a great day for our state, and I'm pleased the Supreme Court recognized the importance of the legislative process,” said Speaker of the House Brian Egolf.
“I am very pleased by the court’s decision today. These 10 bills now become law, and the court affirmed that there are rules that have to be followed for the legislative process to work properly. And we now have an important law to clean up the horse racing industry in our state. Without these stricter rules and enforcement to end illegal practices, I fear that the racing industry will die, along with the many jobs in rural New Mexico that are supported by it,” said Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen. SB 184, sponsored by Sen. Papen, will amend the Horse Racing Act to allow the revocation of licenses for up to five years if the licensee used electrical or mechanical devices for affecting the speed or stamina of a racehorse.
“Expanding into the vast industrial hemp market is a major job creator. Hemp is a low-cost, low-effort, sustainable crop that is not only good for our environment, but brings endless economic opportunities as well, from cultivation to product development, to marketing and manufacturing,” said Representative Bill Gomez, sponsor of House Bill 144. The bill allows for the research of industrial hemp at New Mexico universities and establishes a fund for hemp research, so long as the research doesn’t violate the Controlled Substances Act.
“I am glad for the farmers of New Mexico who are finally going to have another cash crop – it is long overdue,” said Senator Cisco McSorley. Senate Bill 6, sponsored by Sen. McSorley, will allow the state to license farmers to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.
“Senate Bill 24 will give local communities the ability to determine their economic development and job creation destinies by treating high-speed broadband Internet services just like any other infrastructure. Expanding access to high-speed broadband means more jobs in rural New Mexico where they are needed, better options for higher education, and critical telemedicine services,” said Senator Michael Padilla. SB 24, sponsored by Sen. Michael Padilla and Rep. Jim Smith, will give local governments a new option to pay for expansion of broadband access.
“This bill will enable school districts to plan for broadband expansion and faster networks by eliminating the sunset clause that was put on the use of broadband through public school capital outlay. Without this bill, school districts would only have state funding for another year, but can now benefit from long-term planning using federal and state funds,” said Senator Mimi Stewart. SB 64, sponsored by Sen. Stewart, will allow the Public School Capital Outlay Council to continue budgeting up to $10 million of the public school capital outlay fund for education technology initiatives such as broadband.
“One way or another, this bill has become law, and that’s what is important,” said Senator Jacob Candelaria. SB 134, sponsored by Sen. Jacob Candelaria and Rep. Debra M. Sariñana, permits high school students to count computer science courses toward the math or science credits needed to graduate. PED made a surprise announcement just yesterday that they were going to start allowing a similar change.
“Making financial assistance and loan repayment available to the Burrell College School of Medicine students in Las Cruces means these students will finally be treated equally to other medical school students in New Mexico. These students will have an incentive to help boost our healthcare workforce and keep New Mexicans healthy,” said Representative Doreen Gallegos, sponsor of House Bill 126. The bill establishes preference for financial aid to medical students, as well as to healthcare professionals who graduated from a New Mexico institution.
“My bill will help acequias and small water associations by cutting the red tape they currently face in trying to deliver an important resource to communities throughout the state,” said Senator Liz Stefanics. SB 222 was sponsored by Sen. Stefanics.
“The people of New Mexico now will be better served because county treasurers will be notified when a public improvement district or tax incremental development district is proposed, since they are the elected officials that invest these public dollars,” said Senator Nancy Rodriguez. SB 67, sponsored by Sen. Rodriguez, will require that the county treasurer be notified of the formation of any tax increment development district within that county. SB 356, also sponsored by Sen. Rodriguez, will require that the county treasurer be notified of the formation of any public improvement district within that county.