February 18, 2016

Sine die! 2016 Legislative Session is over

Andy Lyman

Michael Sanchez on the Senate floor during the 2016 regular session.

The State Legislature finished the 30-day session on Thursday.

Both the House and Senate adjourned sine die after the clock struck noon, exactly 30 days after the session began in January.

No major bills were left to die on the vine; all of the bills either headed to Martinez’s desk or failed in committee earlier in the session.

While many crimes bills failed to pass, the Legislature did send a bill increasing some DWI penalties and a bill increasing child pornography possession penalties to the floor.

The budget, with cuts, passed earlier in the week. Unlike last year, capital outlay passed without much drama.

The final day largely limped along and at times it seemed like they had to fill time ahead of the deadline instead of racing to beat the clock.

“This is the calmest last day I’ve seen in 20-some odd years,” Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, said an hour and a half before the end of the session. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it this calm before.”

On the House side, the most significant piece of legislation—or at least the most potentially controversial—was a bill to regulate Uber and Lyft. The House approved changes made by the Senate from Wednesday night. The legislation now heads to Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk.

At one point, the House recessed briefly, with a little more than a half hour left in the session, while they waited for more legislation to be sent down.

The closest thing to drama in the Senate was when Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, tried to add a solar development tax credit extension to a House Bill on tax dates.

Stewart said it would impact the ability of New Mexicans to pay for rooftop solar installation and impact companies to install solar.

The amendment failed very narrowly on a 19-20 vote.

The Senate finished after a prayer for Sen. Carroll Leavell, who is undergoing cancer treatment. Leavell was not present on Thursday.