June 5, 2015

It’s official: Special session on Monday

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It’s now official: Governor Susana Martinez has called a special session for Monday.

RoundhouseThe special session is expected to last just one day, as negotiators from the governor’s office, the House and Senate announced a deal had been made.

Martinez’s office sent a release to the media on Friday evening, saying that she is calling the state legislature into a special legislative session at noon on Monday.

Some, including legislators, thought it had been too late for a special session to happen. But an action by the state Board of Finance made it possible.

In the proclamation, which you can see below, Martinez listed the items that will be on the special session agenda. In a special session, the governor is allowed to limit what kind of legislation can be introduced.

The items include capital outlay legislation, a tax package and supplemental appropriations for the state Department of Health and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The big ticket item is capital outlay legislation. The capital outlay legislation is funding for infrastructure projects and other such projects throughout the state. The exact makeup of the nearly $300 million infrastructure bill is not yet known.

Capital outlay legislation failed in the regular session this year after a dispute between the House Republicans and the Senate, culminating in the House Republicans making big changes to the bill shortly before the end of the session. The House finalized the severely changed bill with less than twenty minutes to go in the session.

The Senate did not hear the legislation, but Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, indicated after the legislature had adjourned that the Senate Finance Committee would have stripped out the House changes if given time.

Another big piece of legislation is a tax package that sailed through the House, but fell prey to a last-minute filibuster in the Senate, courtesy of Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, and failed to pass before the session ended. That the package of tax cuts is included in the special session is a sign of its importance to some members of the legislature and the governor.

New Mexico Political Report will be on hand for the special session.

Earlier this week Martinez and legislative leaders from both chambers announced that a deal had been struck and a special session was imminent.

There will be a fourth bill included in the session; the bill that will pay for the special session itself. An estimate of past special sessions have been that they cost $50,000 per day. It is unclear how much this special session will cost.

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