March 21, 2023

Only a couple of proposed constitutional amendments make it to voters

Legislators sought to start the process to change the state constitution with several pieces of legislation this year. The proposals sought to place constitutional amendments on the 2024 general election ballot. 

Only two made it through the system: HJR 5, which would extend the property tax exemption for disabled veterans, and HJR 6, which would increase property tax exemptions for honorably discharged service members.

HJR 5 extends the property tax exemption, currently only available for those veterans who are 100 percent disabled and their widows or widowers to allow those that are under 100 percent disabled and their widows or widowers to qualify for the exemption.

“The amount of the exemption shall be in a percentage equal to the percentage of the veteran’s disability rating determined pursuant to federal law,” the legislation states.

Similarly, HJR 6 would increase the property tax exemption for honorably discharged service members and their widows or widowers from $4,000 to $10,000 with an annual adjustment based on inflation.

The method for determining this adjustment was not specified in the legislation.

These ballot measures will appear on the November 2024 ballot and don’t require any action from the governor.

Some of the proposed constitutional amendments that failed to pass include HJR 1 which sought to set up an independent redistricting commission, HJR 2  and HJR 14 sought to modernize the legislature, HJR 3 sought to put an expiration date on emergency declarations, HJR 8 sought to establish a citizen’s commission to determine legislator salaries, HJR 9 was a bail reform amendment that would have let the legislature determine bail denial conditions and several other changes to current constitutional requirements for denial of bail and HJR 12 sought to open New Mexico’s primaries so that unaffiliated voters could vote in the primary of their choice.

Over on the Senate side were SJR 1 which sought to replace the PED with a state school board, SJR 2 sought to establish a children’s bill of rights and  SJR 9 sought to repeal and replace the Anti-Donation Clause which prevents public entities such as county commissions, school boards and city councils from providing goods and services for free to individuals and/or private entities.