Session ends with a looming court battle


The Roundhouse in Santa Fe (Photo by Heath Haussamen)

The first 2011 special session of the New Mexico Legislature ended Saturday with no deals on at least most redistricting plans and a looming court battle.

Lawmakers failed to even pass a plan for congressional redistricting after a handful of Southern New Mexico Democrats in the House refused to go with their party’s plan that would have essentially abandoned the southern 2nd Congressional District to Republicans.

Without the votes to pass the plan most House Democrats wanted, the House adjourned Saturday without approving a congressional redistricting plan.

That came after the Senate passed its own congressional redistricting plan – one the southern Democrats in the House opposed – and adjourned earlier Saturday.

Lawmakers did pass redistricting plans for state House and Senate seats on party-line votes, but they did so with pledges of vetoes from Gov. Susana Martinez.

The governor said she was undecided on whether to veto redistricting plans Democrats pushed through for the Public Regulation and Public Education commissions, but legislative Republicans fought hard against the PRC plan that increased Democratic favorability, so it seems likely Martinez will veto it as well.


Lawmakers left untouched almost all other items Martinez put on the special session agenda, but, according to The Associated Press, “… Martinez didn’t end up empty-handed. Lawmakers approved proposals to supplement food stamps for needy New Mexicans and tighten a preference given to New Mexico businesses that bid on state government contracts.”

Lawmakers also passed a capital outlay bill that appropriates $86 million for various projects.

The session ended with the task of redistricting unfinished and Democrats and Republicans accusing each other of putting partisan gamesmanship above the needs of New Mexicans.

What’s next? Redistricting will go to court, but there might be an intermediate step. Martinez could call lawmakers back into another special session to reconsider redistricting. She might also call another session for the other items on her agenda.

Will she? Time will tell.

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