House committee passes ‘comprehensive’ voting bill that includes voting rights provisions

The House Judiciary Committee passed an omnibus voting bill, SB 144, that includes provisions of two other voting bills, SB 8 and SB 6, on a party line vote of 9-3 Tuesday evening. After Senate Republicans blocked a Senate floor debate and vote on SB 8 over the weekend, House Democrats moved the provisions from […]

House committee passes ‘comprehensive’ voting bill that includes voting rights provisions

The House Judiciary Committee passed an omnibus voting bill, SB 144, that includes provisions of two other voting bills, SB 8 and SB 6, on a party line vote of 9-3 Tuesday evening.

After Senate Republicans blocked a Senate floor debate and vote on SB 8 over the weekend, House Democrats moved the provisions from that bill into another voting bill, SB 144. SB 144, sponsored by state Sen. Katy Duhigg, D-Albuquerque, initially aimed to protect election workers from intimidation, threat or use of force or violence, damage or harm while carrying out their duties during an election. The penalty for the crime is a fourth degree felony.

The bill also has already passed the Senate, removing a barrier with less than two days left in the session.

SB 8 would expand voting rights to groups who face disenfranchisement, such as Native Americans and formerly incarcerated individuals who are disproportionately people of color. Senate Republicans blocked SB 8 from being heard in the state Senate over the weekend by forcing a procedure that requires all members of the Senate to be present and accounted for. Two members, a Republican and a decline-to-state member, were absent and the bill has been held up in the Senate chamber since.

Many members of the public expressed anger over SB 8 and SB 6 being added to SB 144. Complaints from the public centered primarily around the fact that the public did not have time to look at the 160-page amendment added to what was initially a two-page bill. House Republicans on the committee called amending SB 144 to include the amended provisions of SB 6 and SB 8 “log rolling,” which state Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, called “unconstitutional.” Log rolling is a term used to describe putting two unrelated bills together in one piece of legislation.

“This amendment goes so well beyond the very few pages of the original bill SB 144, I believe it crosses the line,” Nibert said.

State House Rep. Daymon Ely, D-Corrales, who co-sponsored the amendments along with Duhigg, said it is not log rolling while Committee Chair Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, said she’s been in the legislature for 25 years and “this happens at the end of session every time.”

Duhigg called putting the three bills together more “transparent” because, she said, doing so makes the process more “comprehensive.”

Provisions struck from SB 8 in previous committees were excluded from the amended SB 144. Those include allowing 16-year-old individuals to vote; back end automatic voter registration and making election day a general holiday.

What remains are provisions such as expanding voting rights for Native Americans, allowing formerly incarcerated to gain the right to vote upon release, creating a permanent absentee voter list and making election day a school holiday because most polling locations take place at public schools.

Nibert asked several questions about ballot security with repeated assurances from Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and the amendment’s sponsors on the layers of security already in place.

“I’m concerned about ballot security measures not in the amendment. I hope some of those measures are addressed before it goes to a House vote,” he said.

The committee discussed and debated the bill for nearly four hours before Chasey cut off debate, saying SB 8 had six hours of public debate in an earlier committee hearing.  

SB 6, sponsored by state Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, would clean up the election code to eliminate language pertaining to the Public Regulation Commission as an elected office, as well as creates an elections security program and clarifies how public records requests are congruent with election code.

The bill now heads to the House floor. The Senate would need to agree with the changes to send it to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Advocates for family and children say budget provides benefits for children

Advocates for family and children say budget provides benefits for children

The legislature passed a budget of $10.2 billion this year. The budget now awaits the governor’s signature.  Some highlights from the budget that will…
Legislation focused on reforms of oil and gas extraction fails to pass

Legislation focused on reforms of oil and gas extraction fails to pass

This legislative session brought few changes to the oil and gas industry that provides a substantial part of the state’s budget. Going into the…
Supporters say affirmative consent bill would make college campuses safer

Supporters say affirmative consent bill would make college campuses safer

The bill to mandate affirmative consent policies and procedures in institutions of higher education awaits the governor’s signature. If signed, advocates hope it will…
Legislation focused on reforms of oil and gas extraction fails to pass

Legislation focused on reforms of oil and gas extraction fails to pass

This legislative session brought few changes to the oil and gas industry that provides a substantial part of the state’s budget. Going into the…
Senate approves bill to allow wastewater project funding through the Water Trust Board

Senate approves bill to allow wastewater project funding through the Water Trust Board

The Senate passed legislation that changes which projects can receive funding through the Water Trust Board on a 34-5 vote on Wednesday. HB 211…
Geothermal bill makes it to governor’s desk for second consecutive year

Geothermal bill makes it to governor’s desk for second consecutive year

The Senate unanimously passed legislation intended to spur development of geothermal energy on Wednesday. HB 91 now heads to the governor’s desk.  The legislation…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Supreme Court censures attorney over conduct in anti-COVID policy suits

Supreme Court censures attorney over conduct in anti-COVID policy suits

The New Mexico State Supreme Court censured a New Mexico attorney because of her “misconduct” in two unsuccessful cases pushing back on COVID-19 regulations…
Guv outlines some health priorities on state spending

Guv outlines some health priorities on state spending

During her state of the state address on Tuesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham told legislators that one of her legislative priorities is a request…
Referendum on Edgewood’s anti-abortion ordinance moves forward

Referendum on Edgewood’s anti-abortion ordinance moves forward

The town of Edgewood is moving forward with its ballot referendum on its anti-abortion ordinance at a cost of more than $35,000. The town…
2023 Top Stories #1: Anti-abortion efforts go local

2023 Top Stories #1: Anti-abortion efforts go local

Note: Every year, we count down the top ten stories of the year, as voted on by NM Political Report staffers. Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral…
NM Supreme Court to decide if local anti-abortion ordinances are legal

NM Supreme Court to decide if local anti-abortion ordinances are legal

The New Mexico Supreme Court will decide whether anti-abortion ordinances passed by local governments in eastern New Mexico over the last 13 months can…
Paid Family Medical Leave bill dies in the final days of the session for a second year in a row

Paid Family Medical Leave bill dies in the final days of the session for a second year in a row

A bill that would have provided paid leave for several weeks died on the House floor when 11 Democrats sided with Republicans to vote…
Paid Family and Medical Leave bill passes Senate

Paid Family and Medical Leave bill passes Senate

A bill that seeks to provide several weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers in the state passed the state senate by…
Paid Family and Medical Leave bill heads to Senate floor

Paid Family and Medical Leave bill heads to Senate floor

The Senate Finance Committee passed a bill to provide paid leave for workers for medical reasons by a 6-5 vote on Saturday. SB 3,…

Bill to require disclosure of use of AI in campaign materials goes to governor

The Senate approved a bill aiming to require the disclosure of the use of artificial intelligence or other changes made by computers to campaign…
House amends, passes bill banning firearms near polling places

House amends, passes bill banning firearms near polling places

The House narrowly approved a bill that would ban firearms near polling places. The House voted 35-34 to pass the bill following an extensive…
Manny Gonzales doesn’t qualify for Senate GOP primary ballot

Manny Gonzales doesn’t qualify for Senate GOP primary ballot

Nella Domenici is the lone Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, after Manny Gonzales III failed to qualify for the ballot. Gonzales did not file…
Advocates for family and children say budget provides benefits for children

Advocates for family and children say budget provides benefits for children

The legislature passed a budget of $10.2 billion this year. The budget now awaits the governor’s signature.  Some highlights from the budget that will…
Supporters say affirmative consent bill would make college campuses safer

Supporters say affirmative consent bill would make college campuses safer

The bill to mandate affirmative consent policies and procedures in institutions of higher education awaits the governor’s signature. If signed, advocates hope it will…
Governor, legislative leadership reflect on session

Governor, legislative leadership reflect on session

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and legislative leaders held press conferences after the end of the 2024 legislative session, explaining their concerns and thoughts about…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report