Santa Fe – What expectations should taxpayers have of a special session convened just 37 days before one of the most curious general elections in recent history? Within 48 hours, the ink had barely dried on Gov. Susana Martinez’s proclamation calling for special legislative session to remedy a gaping budget deficit and pass the GOP’s “all crime, all the time” agenda.
The Democrat lead Senate voted to adjourn early Saturday morning after passing various bills aimed at solving the deficit. Gov. Martinez and her allies immediately attempted to paint the Senate Democrats “sine die” as a campaign tactic that fails to effectively govern. Should the GOP have expected anything else in a scenario where a special session convenes during a boisterous election cycle?
— Christopher Sanchez (@chrisanchezzz) October 2, 2016
Senate sine die after not solving a thing & leaving victims’ families without justice. They took care of their pork, though. #nmleg
— Nick Piatek (@NJPiatek) October 1, 2016
While the House continued their push for crime bills over the weekend (on Monday the House recessed until Wednesday morning), the control of the narrative was largely given up to the Democrats, whose budget-focused messaging seemed to resonate more with the media and general public:
— Javier Martínez (@JavierForNM) October 2, 2016
— Carter Bundy (@carterbundy) October 1, 2016
The message is clear: with Republicans occupying the Governors mansion and while retaining a slight majority in the House, Senate Democrats lead by Sanchez still wield significant influence over the business of government in the Roundhouse.
Case in point, during the 2015 legislative session I was part of a local effort to enact Right to Work in New Mexico. 60% of our fellow New Mexicans supported this needed economic policy but these numbers didn’t matter, if legislation lacks the Democrat from Belen’s blessing there is zero chance for any version of it to arrive on the Governor’s desk.
60% of our fellow New Mexicans supported this needed economic policy but these numbers didn’t matter, if legislation lacks the Democrat from Belen’s blessing there is zero chance for any version of it to arrive on the Governor’s desk.
The Senate is expected to return on Thursday to take up the budget bills the House passed, and if recent history is any indication, it is unlikely any crime bills will be considered. These last few days serve as a preview of what is to come in January, when lawmakers have to close a budget hole roughly four times as large – without the easy one-time fixes used to close last year’s budget deficit.