The State Legislature passed 101 bills this year and sent them to Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk.
Out of those, Martinez vetoed eight with veto messages.
Martinez had to decide by Wednesday at noon whether or not to sign or veto legislation.
Related Story: Ten biggest vetoed capital outlay projects
Along with the eight vetoed bills, Martinez provided veto messages.
We included the intention of the bill and portions of the governor’s message on vetoing the legislation for each of these below.
HB 203—Increase Amount of Indigent Use of Interlock
The bill designed to cut the amount of DWIs passed both chambers unanimously. It would have allowed eligible indigent DWI offenders to receive active usage fees of $50 per month, up from $30 per month. The fund to pay for these fees currently has $3.9 million in the bank.
Martinez was not satisfied by this, however, and said that just because there is money in the fund, that doesn’t mean they should seek to increase this usage fee.
“If these individuals could afford a car, fuel, and alcohol when they were caught driving drunk, then they can afford the various, reasonable consequences of a DWI offense,” Martinez wrote.
HB 187—Alternative Level 3-B School Licensure
This bill would have allowed for those other than teachers, such as school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists and others, to have an alternative way of getting licensed for administrative positions. This would have paved the way for them to become assistant principals or principals.
In her veto message, Martinez mentioned the actual bill briefly, saying, “It’s not an idea without merit, and in fact, it doesn’t go nearly far enough.”
Instead, Martinez spent the bulk of the message criticizing the Senate for failing to pass other education laws, such as one to allow those without teaching degrees to teach if they had a degree in a similar field.
SB 36—Development Disabilities Annual Reporting
The legislation would require the Department of Health to “provide a report to the legislative finance committee and the legislative health and human services committee on the supports and services provided pursuant to the developmental disabilities medicaid home- and community-based waiver program.“
Martinez’s veto message said the DOH already was able to provide this information and that “mandating yet another annual written report in state law is unnecessary and could take away from devoting our scarce resources to meeting the needs of the developmentally disabled.”
SB 79—Forfeited Lottery Prizes to Scholarship Fund
The bill, sponsored by frequent Martinez sparring partner Michael Sanchez, would have put unclaimed lottery funds toward the scholarship program that the lottery funds. This is between $2 million and $3 million per year.
Martinez vetoed the measure and said the New Mexico Lottery Authority and the Higher Education Department both said this “would reduce the amount of money available to be invested in new games and larger payouts” and so would result in a loss of $5 million to $6 million annually from the lottery program.
SB 210—Create Court Language Access Fund
This legislation would create a fund run by the Administrative Office of the Courts to pay for court interpreters, fund language training and other programs and initiatives for paying for language services for those who do not speak English proficiently. Essentially, it would move the funds from the Jury and Witness Fund to this new fund; the current fund frequently requires action when it runs low including appropriations.
Martinez’s veto message said she opposed creating another fund and said the funds should continue to come from the AOC’s general operating budget.
SB 224—Advanced Mapping Fund for Rio Grande Trail
The bill would have created a fund for advanced mapping of trails for the Rio Grande Trail Commission, which was created by statute last year. The Senate Finance Committee removed the appropriation for the legislation.
Martinez said it would create “a duplicative and unnecessary fund.” She cited 2015’s HB 563, which established the Rio Grande Trail Fund. That fund was to “develop, establish and support the Rio Grande trail” according to the legislation.
The vetoed legislation would have directed the money “for the purpose of hiring a project coordinator to oversee the Rio Grande trail project, including overseeing the master plan and alignment study agreement; purchasing rights of way required for the trail corridor; coordinating with all affected entities; and planning, design and construction of the Rio Grande trail.”
HB 70—Hearing Aid Option Information
This legislation would require that those who can sell hearing aids inform the recipients of “audio switch technology.” This is available in some hearing aids and let the hearing aid act as a personal loudspeaker in some situations.
Martinez said the technology was still not fully agreed-upon by those in the “hard-of-hearing community and those who assist it.”
“The lack of consensus about the best solution to this problem is apparent, and I am also concerned about mandating in statute specific standards of care, specific technologies that must be presented to patients, and specific conduct for audiologists and hearing aid dispensers,” Martinez wrote.