SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – With just two days left in the legislative session, more and more bills are starting to land on the governor’s desk, but she’s shooting down almost half of them with little explanation. That has Democrats crying “petty politics.”
Some of the bills the governor is vetoing have wide bipartisan support, like Sen. Jacob Candelaria’s bill for a computer science high school course.
“Both chambers are working incredibly hard to pass bills that actually matter, that actually will help people in this state and to have them disposed of with little to no explanation I think leaves us wondering, ‘who’s looking out for the state of New Mexico?'” Sen. Candelaria said.
The governor has signed current year budget bills along with a few House bills, like a casino horse racing bill, and counties deciding liquor sales hours. Yet, she’s vetoed nine Senate bills without much reasoning. Most are Democrat-backed bills with wide bipartisan support and supposed to create jobs.
This comes on the heals of the Senate voting to override her veto of a teacher sick leave bill.
“We work together to try and get a good piece of legislation up, we’re trying to get a budget, we’re working everyday to try and get a balanced budget, our staffs have worked diligently on that, but at the end of the day, you work to make sure things get done like they’re supposed to be and there’s only so many tools she has in that toolbox,” Keith Gardner, the governor’s chief of staff, said.
He says legislatures haven’t prioritized their time properly, and that the fix to the $350 million shortfall for next year’s budget without tax hikes should be on the governor’s desk by now.
When KRQE News 13 asked if the governor would sign crime bills if they came to her desk right now, the answer was “yes,” because she strongly supports that kind of legislation and considers that necessary for the state.
Sen. Candelaria has introduced a constitutional amendment that would require the governor to explain every veto, but that has stalled in a committee.