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 HJR with no action on a 4-to-3 vote Monday. This means the bill will move on to the next committee, but with no recommendation from the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee.
“I know that COVID politicized this issue and this really is not about politics,” HJR 8 sponsor House Minority Leader T. Ryan Lane, R-Aztec, said. “It’s about the institution of the legislature: our role is an equal branch of government and the reality that we are the closest to the people of New Mexico and currently they don’t have a say when emergency orders are issued.”
The resolution aims to limit emergency declarations to 90 days unless the governor calls a special session in which a three-fifths vote from both the House and Senate is needed to pass an emergency declaration extension.
This means that if the emergency declaration is not extended by the legislature, that it would expire.
If the legislature does not act, then the emergency order would expire.
The governor would be able to call the legislature into special session prior to the 90 days deadline.
Under existing law, the New Mexico Attorney General’s office wrote in the fiscal impact report, public health emergencies expire after 30 days unless extended by the governor.
If approved by the legislature, the decision would go to New Mexico voters on the Nov. 5 ballot. If the voters approve it, the state constitution would be amended to reflect the change.