May 14, 2015

Martinez has no plans to call a special session

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The odds of a special session are nearing nil, as a spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez said that she has “no intention” to call a special session for capital outlay funding.

The Roundhouse Rotunda. Photo by Matthew Reichbach

The Roundhouse Rotunda. Photo by Matthew Reichbach

If Martinez’s intention remains the same, there will be no capital outlay spending this year, since the Legislature failed to pass such legislation during the year’s regular session.

The capital outlay legislation would have funded more than $200 million in spending for infrastructure and other projects throughout the state.

A spokesman for Martinez told the Albuquerque Journal about the special session possibility, or lack thereof.

A Martinez spokesman said the governor met twice today with Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, the lead negotiator for the Senate Democrats, in an attempt to forge an elusive deal on special session legislation.

However, the news release sent out later in the day by Senate Democrats, which the Governor’s Office blasted as “partisan” and “misleading,” apparently prompted the decision not to call a special session — at least for now.

Earlier on Thursday, New Mexico Political Report reported that Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, was not optimistic about a special session being called. The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

However, after the Senate Democrats issued a press release calling for a special session, a spokesman for the governor told the Albuquerque Journal that a special session was likely not to happen.

“If the Senate Democrats want to publicly debate the merits of their plans to raise health care taxes on 300,000 New Mexicans and increase the gas tax in order to protect funding for their pet pork projects, then that’s a debate we can have,” Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez told the Albuquerque Journal.

The legislation failed to pass during this year’s regular session because of differences between the House Republicans and the Senate Democrats.

After passing the Senate without a dissenting vote, the House drastically changed the bill, prompting criticism from Democrats in both the House and Senate. The House passed the capital outlay legislation with less than 20 minutes to go in the session.

The legislation was never heard during that session.

Democrats criticized Martinez’s office saying there would be no special session as of now.

“Governor Martinez and New Mexico Republicans know this bill would help the working families all across our state,” Democratic Party of New Mexico chair Debra Haaland said from a Young Democrats event in Grants according to the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “That’s why it is absolutely shocking to me that the Republicans won’t put partisan differences aside for one day to conduct the people’s business, as they were elected to do. I’m disappointed, and I’m thinking about the jobs that will be lost and the families that will suffer because of short sighted decisions.”