April 7, 2015

Martinez vetoes two bills, including reduction of probation for good behavior

Flanked by members of her staff, Gov. Susana Martinez delivers statements to members of the press following the 2015 regular session of the state Legislature. Photo Credit: Margaret Wright

Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed two pieces of legislation but signed 24 more on Tuesday as the deadline to make a decision nears.

RoundhouseMartinez vetoed legislation that would reduce time on probation for those with good behavior. The legislation passed both chambers unanimously.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, told New Mexico Political Report last week he hoped Martinez would sign the legislation, part of the criminal justice reform slate.

“The point is to alleviate the stress of the probation department,” Maestas said at the time.

In her veto message, Martinez explained why she vetoed the legislation.

This mandatory requirement divests the probation officer and judge of their authority and discretion to fully monitor offenders. For example, offenders that have chronic or habitual alcohol and drug problems, anger management issues, or those offenders who commit violent crimes, such as child abuse, domestic violence, rape, and murder would no longer be required to receive the full supervision and treatment as determined necessary by the court.

The other bill that Martinez vetoed also passed both chambers with widespread support.

HB 146 received just one voted against it, by Sen. Lee Cotter, R-Las Cruces.

The legislation was designed to expand the definition of instructional materials that schools in the state can legally use. It would include “original source material from primary sources” and “other content resources that support digital learning.”

In her veto message, Martinez wrote:

[T]his bill would, at a maximum, lower standards of learning, which is completely unacceptable, and at a minimum, result in high costs to school districts to vet and review instructional materials. Currently, districts do not bear the lion’s share of these costs.

Additionally, and more critically, this bill eliminates a key provision in law that requires the Public Education Department to verify that schools have a policy in place that every student has a textbook for each class that conforms to curriculum requirements and that allows students to take those textbooks home. Eliminating these provisions jeopardizes the quality of the materials our children are provided in school and eliminates the guarantee that students will have regular and convenient access to those materials.

Bills that became laws

Among the legislation that Martinez signed into law is one that would require lobbyists to report to the Secretary of State on which pieces of legislation, or administrative issue, they were hired to lobby on behalf of or against.

The legislation would also require that all registration and expenditure statements and lobbying expense reports be posted on the website of the Secretary of State in searchable and downloadable formats.

Another bill that Martinez signed would let the state give companies considering moving to New Mexico an “economic development rate” for electricity.

“This will further help recruit new businesses to New Mexico to create more jobs,” the press release stated.

Legislation that looks to increase the flow of money into the severance tax permanent fund—the permanent fund that helps pays for capital outlay and other spending throughout the state—was also signed into law. The legislation passed the House on a 38-29 vote amid concerns about the money that would be taken from the Tribal Infrastructure Fund, or TIF, and from funding for colonias.

Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, sponsored the legislation and said that without changes the fund could disappear.

After changes on the Senate floor to delay the cuts to supplemental severance tax capacity until 2019 and and soften the cuts to the TIF and colonias funding, it passed the Senate unanimously and the House concurred with the changes.

The full list of legislation that Martinez acted upon on Tuesday is available through a press release by the governor.


  • Matthew Reichbach

    Matthew Reichbach is the editor of the NM Political Report. The former founder and editor of the NM Telegram, Matthew was also a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and one of the original hires at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation and formerly published, “The Morning Word,” a daily political news summary for NM Telegram and the Santa Fe Reporter.