NM Senator Howie Morales & Legislators Push for Bi-Partisan Legislation to Strengthen Auto Theft Intelligence, Investigation and Recove

January 24, 2017

NM Senator Howie Morales & Legislators Push for Bi-Partisan Legislation to Strengthen Auto Theft Intelligence, Investigation and Recovery

 Albuquerque Ranked #1 Worst for Car Thefts in U.S.

 

(Santa Fe, NM) – New Mexico State Senator Howie Morales (D-28-Catron, Grant & Socorro), other legislative sponsors, and law enforcement officials from State, City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County law enforcement today introduced promising legislation to stem the wave of auto-theft across the state, and to help catch criminals engaging in it.    Senate Bill 139 and its companion, House Bill 177, will strengthen law enforcement’s ability to gather and share information about potentially stolen vehicles.

 

“Families depend on their cars to get to school and work, to access medical care and to go about their daily lives.  They are faced with huge burdens when their vehicles are stolen,” said Sen. Howie Morales. “This legislation will help us to substantially reduce auto theft, and attack the time lost, and the financial and psychological burdens of this rampant crime on the people of our State.”

 

Over 8,500 vehicles were reported stolen in the state of New Mexico in 2015.  Albuquerque holds the alarming distinction as the #1 metro area in the U.S. reporting the highest rate of car theft, with more than 6,000 thefts there alone.

 

The legislation will help aid investigations and recovery of stolen vehicles by partnering with automotive recyclers in the state.  The bill creates a system for auto recyclers to verify with MVD, at the time of transaction, that the vehicle being considered for purchase is not stolen.

 

The legislation’s bipartisan sponsors include Sen, Howie Morales, Rep. Monica Youngblood (R-68-Bernalillo), and Rep. Patrico Ruiloba (D-12-Bernalillo), and Rep. Bill Rehm (R-13-Bernalillo). State Police Chief Pete Kassetas, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales and Detective Ken Miller of the Albuquerque Police Department all expressed their strong support for SB 139 and HB 177.

 

Bill Highlights:

 

  • Provides a preventive and cost-effective solution to the alarming rise of auto theft in the State. The reporting procedure is an efficient system that streamlines communication among auto recyclers, the State and law enforcement. At no additional costs to taxpayers, this consumer protection legislation equips law enforcement with the necessary information to prevent further criminal activity.

 

  • Safeguards motor vehicle owners and auto recycling businesses by pre-screening targeted motor vehicles and prospective sellers. The information collected at the point of sale allows law enforcement to trace back the stolen vehicle and the unscrupulous individual attempting to sell it.

 

  • Prevents and reduces auto theft activity by exposing criminals and strengthening penalties. Criminals find the retail value of motor vehicles and/or its parts to be attractive. The high risk of being identified at the point of sale in addition to the profits vs. penalty ratio would swiftly deter criminals from auto theft activity.

 

  • Simplifies the reporting process, encouraging auto recyclers to comply and serve as a liaison with law enforcement. Auto recyclers serve as the stop point to prevent and reduce criminal activity in their communities.

 

  • Centralizes information to facilitate the networking between state and national intelligence, crime prevention and law enforcement agencies.

 

  • Similar programs in other states have provided swift and significant results. In North Carolina, the Division of Motor Vehicles’ License and Theft Bureau received 41 reports of stolen vehicles in the system’s first month of implementation. As a result, 22 of those stolen vehicles were stopped from being sold to salvage yards, 19 were confiscated following sales. The Bureau also recovered 33 vehicles and uncovered three fictitious IDs in the course of their investigations.

 

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Senate Democrats Elect New Chairs to Head Key Committees, Sen. Soules to Education, Sen. Cervantes to Conservation

January 19, 2017

Senate Democrats Elect New Chairs to Head Key Committees,

Sen. Soules to Education, Sen. Cervantes to Conservation

(Santa Fe, NM) – Members of New Mexico’s Senate yesterday selected new Chairs to lead two key legislative standing committees during the 60-day 2017 Legislative Session, the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Conservation Committee.  Senator Joseph Cervantes (D – 31 – Doña Ana) will take over from the Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter Wirth (D – 25 – Santa Fe) to head the Senate Conservation Committee.

“I appreciate this opportunity from my Senate colleagues, and leading the committee entrusted with the future of our State’s natural resources.  Our family has farmed alongside the Rio Grande for four generations, and I am reminded daily of these valuable but fragile treasures,” said Sen. Cervantes.

Senator Bill Soules (D – 37 – Doña Ana), a former teacher and principal from Southern New Mexico, will now oversee the Education Committee as Chair.

“I am honored to chair this important committee.  Getting New Mexico’s children a world-class education must be our goal, and we have no time to waste.  We will work hard to provide better solutions to help schools educate every student to their full potential, and to close the achievement gap in our state.  High-quality education is critical to creating opportunity for our children to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.  Our state is counting on the children in our schools today for its future,” said Sen. Soules.

Other changes made to the composition of Senate standing committees include Senator John Sapien (D- 9- Bernalillo & Sandoval), who has chaired the Education Committee since 2013, returning to the influential Senate Finance Committee.

“I previously served on the Legislative Finance Committee. Given my business background, where I help families organize their finances every day, this is a natural move.  During my four years as Chair of the Education Committee, I learned how critical the budgets of schools and school districts are across our state.  I know that I can make a valuable contribution not only to discussions about key issues of education funding, but also on issues of funding our government as a whole.  I also believe that for the residents of my district in Sandoval County, serving on the Finance Committee enables me to make a real impact on funding for needed local infrastructure and other projects,” said Sen. John Sapien.

It is a rule of the Senate that no member may simultaneously serve on the Finance Committee and any other standing committee.

The organizational changes approved by the full Senate were proposed and approved earlier in the day by unanimous vote of the Senate Committees’ Committee, chaired by Senator Mary Kay Papen (D – 38 – Doña Ana), the New Mexico Senate Pro Tem.

In addition to electing new Chairs to head the Education and Conservation committees, other Democratic changes to the Senate’s organizational structure include:

Judiciary Committee: 

Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D – 15 – Bernalillo) joins the panel and will serve as its Vice Chair.

Senator Jacob Candelaria (D – 26 – Bernalillo) joins the committee.

Public Affairs (SPAC)

Senator Elizabeth Stefanics (D – 39 – Bernalillo, Lincoln, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Torrance and Valencia), newly elected to the Senate in 2016, joins the committee.

Senator Jeff Steinborn (D – 36 – Doña Ana), newly elected to the Senate in 2016, joins the committee.

Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto leaves SPAC to join Judiciary.

Rules

Senator Jeff Steinborn (D – 36 – Doña Ana), newly elected to the Senate in 2016, joins the committee, and will serve as its Vice Chair.

Conservation

Senator Liz Stefanics (D – 39- Bernalillo, Lincoln, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Torrance and Valencia), joins the panel and will serve as its Vice Chair. She was newly elected to the Senate in 2016.

Senator Cisco McSorley (D – 16 – Bernalillo) joins the committee.

Corporations

Senator Bill Tallman (D -18 – Bernalillo), newly elected in 2016, joins the panel and will serve as its Vice Chair.

Education

Senator Mimi Stewart (D- 17 – Bernalillo) joins the panel and will serve as its Vice Chair.

Indian & Cultural Affairs

Senator Bill Tallman (D – 18 – Bernalillo), newly elected in 2016 joins the panel. He replaces Sen. Cisco McSorley, who joins Conservation.

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Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto Files Legislation to Create Public Accountability Board

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Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto Files Legislation to Create Public Accountability Board

Santa Fe, NM – Today, State Senator Daniel A. Ivey-Soto pre-filed Senate Bill 72, the Public Accountability Act, which will significantly strengthen ethics enforcement across state and local government.  It creates a venue for the public to bring forward ethical concerns related to the conduct of public officials and the management of public dollars.

This legislation represents the most comprehensive ethics enforcement reform to be introduced in the state legislature.  It provides ethics enforcement of the state executive branch, strengthens existing ethics laws in the judicial and legislative branches, and for the first time extends the same ethics enforcement to local governments throughout the state.  In short, this bill ensures that all public officials are held to the highest levels of ethical conduct.

“This bill is aimed at restoring New Mexicans’ faith and confidence in every level and branch of our state’s government,” said Senator Ivey-Soto. “As public servants we are accountable to the people we serve.  Simply put, public service is a public trust and this legislation will dramatically improve the ethics process through which we protect that trust.”

The legislation will be co-sponsored in the House of Representatives by incoming State Representative Daymon Ely, an attorney whose legal practice is focused on ensuring that fellow attorneys uphold the proper standards of conduct when representing their clients.

“It’s time for the legislature to make a bold move to provide the accountability and transparency New Mexicans expect from their elected officials and public servants,” said Representative-elect Ely. “This legislation will hold our public officials accountable to the highest standards of ethical conduct.”

The legislation is supported by leading reform groups, including Common Cause New Mexico who awarded Senator Ivey-Soto with their 2015 Best in Government Award.

“Citizens have been demanding a way to increase transparency at all levels of government and this gives them a one-stop shop to file complaints involving public officials across the state,” said Common Cause New Mexico Executive Director Viki Harrison. “This is an important step in rebuilding the public’s trust in both our political system and our elected officials after so many high-profile scandals. We look forward to working with Senator Ivey-Soto on this initiative.”

Key provisions of the legislation include:

  • Creates the New Mexico Public Accountability Board to review violations of ethical misconduct, corruption, and abuses made by local government and members of the state executive.
  • Makes the New Mexico Public Accountability Board a clearing house where the public can bring forth concerns about potential misconduct by all public officials and have them referred to proper enforcement entity for review.
  • Expands the authority of the Judicial Standards Committee to allow for review of conduct of hearing officers and arbitrators.
  • Converts the Interim Legislative Ethics Committee into a permanent committee of the Legislature responsible for reviewing violations of ethical misconduct by members of the New Mexico Legislature.
  • Requires the Legislative Ethics Committee to issue annual reports of complaints received and action taken on each complaint.
  • Opens the legislative ethics process to participation by two public members and requires a webpage on which the public may access information on Legislative ethics, past complaints, and opinions regarding proper ethical conduct.

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For Immediate Release, January 04, 2017

Contact: Victor Reyes, victor.reyes@nmlegis.gov(505) 633-6755

Democratic Senate Caucus Selects Leaders for the 53rd Legislative Session

Contact: Isaac Padilla
Office: 505/986.4819
Mobile: 505/264.6512
Isaac.Padilla@nmlegis.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Democratic Senate Caucus Selects Leaders for the 53rd Legislative Session

(Belen, New Mexico) – Members of the New Mexico Senate Democratic Caucus met today to determine their choices for Senate President Pro Tempore and to select the Senate Majority Leader, Senate Majority Whip and the Senate Majority Caucus Chair.

The Democratic Caucus chose Senator Mary Kay Papen (D-38- Doña Ana), by acclimation, as their choice for Senate President Pro Tempore. The Senate President Pro Tempore is elected by a majority of the New Mexico State Senate. The Democratic Caucus’s choice must receive at least 22 votes on the first day of the session to be named Senate President Pro Tempore.

“I am honored to have the support of the Democratic Caucus for President Pro Tempore as we enter a difficult session that will require us to solve New Mexico’s many problems,” said Sen. Papen. “I have confidence that Democrats and Republicans will work across the aisle, as we did in the 2016 Special Session, to find results.”

The Democratic Caucus elected Senator Peter Wirth (D-25-Santa Fe), by acclimation, to serve as the Democratic Majority leader for the 53rd Legislative Session. Senator Wirth was first elected to the New Mexico Senate in 2008.

“I am humbled to be elected Majority Leader by my colleagues. Democrats in the Senate are united,” said Sen. Wirth. “We are ready to lead and find solutions to the enormous challenges facing our state. I look forward to serving in this new capacity.”

New Mexico Senate Democrats chose Senator Michael Padilla (D-14-Bernalillo)  as the Democratic Senate Majority Whip. Sen. Padilla has was elected to his first term in 2012.

“I would like to thank the Senate Democratic Caucus for having the confidence in me to do this job,” said Sen. Padilla. “This is going to be a difficult session, because New Mexico needs to solve our fiscal crisis and turn around our economy and create jobs.”

Democrats in the Senate chose Senator Jacob Candelaria (D-26-Bernalillo) to be the New Mexico Senate Majority Caucus Chair. Sen. Candelaria was elected in 2012, and this will be his 2nd time serving as the Caucus Chair.

“I am humbled to be chosen by the Democrats in the Senate to serve as their Caucus Chair,” said Sen. Candelaria. “We have a lot of work to do, and I will do what is necessary to move New Mexico forward.”

The opening day of the 53rd Legislative Session will be January 19, 2017 at noon and will continue through March 18th at noon. During a 60 day session, there are no restrictions on the subjects of bills that can be introduced.

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Senator Michael S. Sanchez Becomes Vice President of National Bipartisan Legislative Organization

ncsl

 

 

For Immediate Release
October 25, 2016

 Contact:
Mick Bullock, NCSL Public Affairs Director
202-624-3557 or press-room@ncsl.org

Senator Michael S. Sanchez Becomes Vice President
of National Bipartisan Legislative Organization

Washington, D.C.— New Mexico State Senator Michael S. Sanchez (D-29, Bernalillo, Valencia) has been elected vice president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan organization that serves the nation’s 7,382 state lawmakers and legislative staff. Sanchez took office at NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Chicago on August 11th, 2016.

Sanchez will serve one year as vice president, ascend to president-elect the following year, and then become president at the Legislative Summit in 2018. NCSL leadership alternates between parties every year.

“I’m excited to assume this leadership role for an organization that is dedicated to bipartisan approaches to solving problems,” said Sen. Michael S. Sanchez. “I look forward to working with my colleagues from around the nation and continue to ensure that there is a strong voice of the states in Washington, D.C.”

Sen. Sanchez has been representing New Mexico’s 29th State District of Valencia and Bernalillo Counties since 1993. He currently serves as the Senate Majority Floor Leader and also vice-chairman of the Senate Committee’s Committee and serves on the Senate Judiciary. During his years of service, Sanchez has focused on creating better jobs, education and protecting working families. One of his notable legislative accomplishments was the creation of the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, which has provided thousands of New Mexico high school students with financial assistance to attend college.

Sanchez is a practicing attorney living in his hometown of Belen, N.M, with his wife Lynn. They have two grown sons and one daughter.

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Since 1975, NCSL has served as the bipartisan organization serving the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.

 

http://www.ncsl.org/aboutus/executive-committee/officers.aspx

Media Advisory: Senator Michael Padilla Hosts Enchanted Circle Telecommunications and Broadband Diversity Route Town Hall

***Media Advisory***

 

Contact: Isaac Padilla
Office: 505/986.4819
Mobile: 505/264.6512
Isaac.Padilla@nmlegis.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Senator Michael Padilla Hosts Enchanted Circle Telecommunications and Broadband Diversity Route Town Hall

(Taos, NM) – Senator Majority Whip Michael Padilla (D-14-Bernalillo) will host a town hall to discuss the diversity route for the Enchanted Circle area. The diversity route will provide redundancy needed for the entire Enchanted Circle. If there is an unfortunate cut in a fiber line or technical problems, the area will now still have broadband service. The project was completed through a partnership between CenturyLink and Kit Carson Electric.

WHAT:             Telecommunications and Broadband Diversity Route Town Hall

WHEN:             Thursday, October 27 from 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

WHERE:           Taos City Hall Council Chambers, 120 Civic Plaza, Taos, NM

WHO:              Chairman of the Interim Science, Technology, and Telecommunications Committee of the New Mexico Legislature Michael Padilla

“The partnership between CenturyLink and Kit Carson to complete the telecommunications and broadband diversity route through the entire Enchanted Circle Region will ensure uninterrupted service to some of the most rural parts of New Mexico and is a great example for other regions of our state,” said Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla.  “This diversity route will help with economic development initiatives in the area, improved access to emergency health care services, and improve educational opportunities for the region.”

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Senator Padilla Chairs Legislative Committee to Discuss Future of Broadband in New Mexico

***Media Advisory***
WILL BE LIVE STREAMED

Contact: Isaac Padilla
Office: 505/986.4819
Mobile: 505/264.6512
Isaac.Padilla@nmlegis.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Senator Padilla Chairs Legislative Committee to Discuss Future of Broadband in New Mexico

Meeting Agenda

(Santa Fe, NM) – Senator Majority Whip Michael Padilla (D-14-Bernalillo) will chair the Science, Technology and Telecommunications Committee. The meeting will focus on expanding broadband in New Mexico and increasing the speed of broadband systems to reach next generation standards.  Currently, 39% of rural Americans do not have access to speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. In New Mexico, 61% of people in rural areas do not have access.

WHAT:             Science, Technology and Telecommunications Committee Meeting

WHEN:             October 20 and 21 starting at 9:00 a.m.

WHERE:           Room 317 at the State Capitol in Santa Fe

WHO:              Chair Michael Padilla and Members of the Committee

A live feed of the committee meeting can be found at the following link https://www.nmlegis.gov/Webcast/.

Legislative Committee to Discuss Future of Broadband in New Mexico

Contact: Isaac Padilla
Office: 505/986.4819
Mobile: 505/264.6512
Isaac.Padilla@nmlegis.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Legislative Committee to Discuss Future of Broadband in New Mexico 

Meeting Agenda

Santa Fe-Senator Majority Whip Michael Padilla (D-14-Bernalillo) will chair the Science, Technology and Telecommunications Committee on October 20 and 21 in room 317 at the State Capitol in Santa Fe. The meeting will focus on expanding broadband in New Mexico and increasing the speed of broadband systems already in New Mexico.

“New Mexico’s broadband access and expansion strategies have a direct impact on our job creation and economic future” Sen. Padilla. “Improving our broadband infrastructure will improve education and New Mexico’s position to compete for high wage jobs.”

Members of the business community, representatives from Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs and education professionals will be discussing the current broadband infrastructure in our schools and in our communities. This will include the next generation standards and ideas to help develop a strategy to meet those standards.

“We have successfully worked with industry and the school district in Belen to increase the speed at all Belen schools to 1 gigabit per second,” said Sen. Padilla. “I encourage anyone who supports expanding access for their communities to attend the committee meeting.”

Facebook recently broke ground on a data center in Los Lunas New Mexico. New Mexico needs to improve access to broadband to rural areas to attract companies, like Facebook, that require access to high speed broadband.  Currently, 39% of rural Americans do not have access to speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload according to the FCC. That number increase to 68% in rural tribal lands. In New Mexico, 61% of the population in rural areas does not have access to 25 Mbps.

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Letter to the Editor by Senator Soules: The Senate Understood the Budget Crisis was the Reason for the Special Session

Letter to the Editor by Senator Soules: The Senate Understood the Budget Crisis was the Reason for the Special Session

October 17, 2016

Letter Submitted by Senator Bill Soules (D-37- Doña Ana)

The most recent special session is the result of a budget crisis unlike anything before in New Mexico’s history.  There isn’t enough money in the treasury to cover the bills from 2016 that ended in June and the revenue forecasts for 2017 are well below the amount of money that was budgeted.  Unlike the Federal Government, we cannot print money and we cannot have a budget that spends more than it takes in.  The administration knew the budget wasn’t balanced in March and the extent of the problem became obvious in the following months.  Democratic legislators have been calling for a special session to “fix” the problems since this past May and June.

For several weeks Democrat and Republican leaders from the Senate Finance Committee worked to craft fixes to the state’s budget problems.  These leaders repeatedly asked the Governor and the House Republican leadership to join with them to come up with a budget balancing plan that would put New Mexico back on solid financial footing.  The response from the Governor and House Republicans was to reiterate their no tax increase pledge.  That isn’t a plan.  To be responsible the Senate had no choice but to move forward with a bipartisan plan to resolve our budget crisis and protect New Mexico’s credit rating.

Budget cuts are never easy.  The Senate Democrats met to discuss the difficult budget cuts.  Everyone understood that all programs would be up for discussion.  Everyone had to be open to compromise.

Special sessions are unlike regular sessions.  Bills are being drafted and changed on the fly.  Amendments are proposed and approved or discarded.  The process is very fluid with lots of trust being put in those who are in charge of negotiating these budget issues.  Unfortunately, it is a terrible way to make laws or balance a budget; there is less public participation, things get missed, overlooked, snuck in, or just poorly written.  It is why a special session should only deal with a very narrow set of issues, the budget crisis.

On the first day of the Special Session, the Senate passed a package of budget bills that responsibly address the current crisis in the state.  All but one of the bills was passed by the overwhelming majority of the Senate, Democrats and Republicans alike.  The Senate fulfilled its responsibility in a little over 12 hours by working in a bi-partisan manner for the good of the state.

The Republican led House was in session for seven days at a cost estimated at $50,000 a day, passed seven of the twelve Senate budget bills with four coming in the last 24 hours.  Rather than work on the budget crisis, the Governor and House Republicans saw an opportunity to use the budget crisis for political gain in the November election.  They chose to use the ugly and heinous crimes to children and police officers as a way to divert attention from the budget crisis toward emotional issues.

By adding the “death penalty” and other crime bills to the special session, the focus on fixing our constitutionally mandated requirement of balancing the budget shifted to debating emotional social issues without allowing for adequate public input.  But that was their intent all along. This is an election year and “tough-on-crime” bills can be used as a wedge issue for political advantage in the November election.  It is unfortunate that House Republicans decided that holding hearings on the crime bills, that can and should wait until January, was more important that dealing with the budget crisis.

The Senate reconvened to consider changes the House made to the budget bills and move the state forward in a responsible and thoughtful manner. The final four bills were passed in 30 minutes after the Senate concurred with House amendments. Hopefully, the Governor and House Republicans will abandon their “all politics all the time” strategy and work with the Senate to find the best solution if the fiscal climate in New Mexico continues to worsen and our economic crisis continues unresolved.

 

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Strongly Bipartisan Senate Fixes Budget Crisis For Now – Gov. Martinez Never Offered a Plan to Address $600 Million Shortfall

Contact: Isaac Padilla
Office: 505/986.4819
Mobile: 505/264.6512
Isaac.Padilla@nmlegis.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Strongly Bipartisan Senate Fixes Budget Crisis For Now –
Gov. Martinez Never Offered a Plan to Address $600 Million Shortfall

(Santa Fe, NM) – New Mexico Senate Democrats today retuned to Santa Fe and swiftly passed a package of bipartisan legislative measures that balance the state’s budget, and created a small contingency reserve of funds.  The Senate’s blueprint, passed at the end of a seven-day special legislative session in the House, eliminates an estimated $600 million deficit.  It uses cuts to state agencies, unspent balance sweeps, and re-purposing of idle infrastructure project funds.  Some revenue adjustments, which were passed in the Senate, were rejected by the House Republican majority and Governor Susana Martinez, so they died.

“Thanks to the Senate’s strong bipartisan cooperation, we have ensured that revenues will match expenditures for the first time in nearly two years.  The people of New Mexico can now be confident that we will avoid a financial and a constitutional crisis that loomed only a short time ago.  I am very proud of both my Democratic and Republican colleagues in the Senate who came together in a spirit of cooperation to put our state above partisanship.  The Senate passed a responsible and effective package to address New Mexico’s serious $600 budget crisis,” said Senator John Arthur Smith of Deming, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

It took the House seven days to complete its final budget bill to fix the budget crisis; it took the bipartisan Senate just one day.  Senate Bill 9, which made difficult cuts to state agencies, for example, was passed by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate by a vote of 42 to 0.

On the important issue of higher education funding, the House Republican majority took action that guarantees tuition increases at our state universities. Senate Democrats tried to head that off.

Democratic Senators expressed strong concerns that the budget bills returned by the House to the Senate today removed important balance from the budget package, imposing only cuts, without any revenue measures passed by the Senate.  The House budget bills contribute no revenues to the overall budget solution, despite recent polls showing the voters overwhelmingly wanted legislators to take an approach balanced with both cuts and revenues.

Several Democratic Senators said after adjournment that they were still waiting to see the Governor’s budget plan.  She never offered one.

The Senate was prudent with taxpayer’s money by passing its package of solutions to the budget shortfall in just one day, and then adjourning.  It came back into session today to accept the House’s version of those budget bills.  The bills the House sent back to the Senate, after four days of fruitless debating and amending, contained relatively minor changes from the Senate-initiated budget-balancing measures.

The cost of the special session was $26,834 for the three days the Senate met.  The cost of the House was $90,000, which met for seven days.  Both costs include only the per diem for legislators and mileage, but no staff costs.

Throughout the special session, the House Republican majority and Gov. Martinez played politics with the budget bills, causing costly and unnecessary delays.

Additionally, for the most part, the legislative work of the Senate was done during hours of the day when the public could observe what was being done.  The House Republican majority, in contrast, did much of its work literally in the middle of the night, making it impossible for the public to see.

Senate Democrats vowed that in January during the regular 60-day legislative session, they would hold thorough and transparent discussions of the issues, including the budget.

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