March 14, 2023

Constitution revision commission bill passes House Judiciary

The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would revise the state constitution via a commission.

Rep. Eliseo Lee Alcon, D-Milan, was the sole vote against the bill, which passed 8-1.

“This bill addresses the constitutional revision commission as one of the three ways by which we can amend our constitution,” bill co-sponsor Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces said. “Most of us are very familiar with the amendment process by which we put the issues on the ballot and the voters vote on constitutional limits. Another way of the three is a constitutional convention. That’s been done before, but I’m not advocating for that here. This constitutional revision commission is merely the creation of a commission for a two-year study, to really look at our constitution front to back and propose and make recommendations to us as a state with regard to our now 100 plus year old constitution. This has been done twice before. It hasn’t been done since the last report was issued in 1995 under Governor (Gary) Johnson.”

SB 308 seeks to create a 21-member commission with 15 voting members appointed by the governor, five from each congressional district, and six non-voting members. No more than eight of the voting members could be from the same political party.

The nonvoting members would include two members from the House of Representatives, two members from the Senate, the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the attorney general, the bill states.

A floor amendment is being drafted to address the large number of gubernatorial appointees on the proposed commission, committee chair Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos, said.