Today is the final Friday of the legislative session.
By this time next week, any bills that didn’t pass both chambers in identical forms are dead for the year and the sponsors will have to look to pass them in 2017.
The basketball game let legislators leave committees and floor sessions early on Thursday, but that won’t be the case tonight. In one committee in particular, see below, let’s hope the Senators have a case of Red Bulls on hand for the late night.
Oh, and committees are scheduled for Saturday and don’t be surprised if they go to the floor on Saturday as well. Welcome to the mad-cap dash to the finish.
Also, I will be on KSFR just after noon tomorrow. That’s 101.1 FM in Santa Fe; if you can’t listen, we’ll get the audio up at some point on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. Consider that a bonus thing to look for (or listen to).
Here are three things to look for on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016.
1. Full schedule for SPAC
The Senate Public Affairs Committee (or “S-PAC” or “Spac” depending on who is saying it) will have a long, long night and have a lot of high profile bills to look at on Friday night.
The 11-bill schedule is actually relatively light for the committee. But the committee will be hearing several high profile bills that already cleared the House (10 of the bills on the schedule are actually from the House).
Three strikes expansion, two bills strengthening penalties for intentional child abuse, a bill on increasing penalties for a DWI while on a revoked license and adding some DWI penalties to the state habitual offender statute are all in the committee. Oh, so is the bill to add police officers and first responders to the state’s Hate Crimes Act.
One member of the the committee has already spoken out about three strikes laws. Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, said that he has publicly spoken out in favor of three strikes laws.
2. Second attempt at capital outlay reform
Something weird happened at the House, Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee on Wednesday. About 15 minutes after the committee’s scheduled start time, committee co-chair Jane Powdrell Culbert, R-Albuquerque, said the meeting wouldn’t happen because of a lack of quorum and all bills would be rolled over until Friday. Included was a capital outlay reform act.
Republicans blamed Democrats for boycotting the hearing; inquiries to Democrats on if there was actually a boycott went unanswered.
Anyway, watching the 8:30 a.m. hearing from the beginning is advisable.
3. Long House, Senate floor agendas
The floor sessions tomorrow could be marathon ones, with 30 items on Third Reading of Legislation (or final passage) in the House and another 19 in the Senate.
While there is no guarantee of what will be heard, legislation to preempt most local labor laws (but not the minimum wage) is on the House floor. That could be one to get a lot of discussion.
In the Senate, a bill on background checks for firearms actually passed two committees unanimously, and is now on the floor. Still, any legislation that mentions guns and background checks could be the site for fireworks.
What did we write yesterday?
Looking forward is great, but don’t forget about the things that happened already.
- Smith: State could be hundreds of millions in the hole on budget
- Sometimes, bills in NM take years to finally pass
- GOP lawmaker attempts revive abortion bill, fails
- DWI bills advance from Senate committee
- Pension forfeiture for corrupt officials passes committee
- Advocates, Dems say no to driver’s license fingerprint
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Sen. Lisa Torraco, R-Albuquerque, is a member of the Senate Public Affairs Committee. We regret the error.