Sandra Fish | New Mexico In Depth
Democratic lawmakers felt the brunt of Gov. Susana Martinez’s 42 capital outlay project vetoes, with 27 of those projects sponsored solely by Democrats. But Martinez did veto some GOP projects, including three Albuquerque projects advocated by House Majority Leader Nate Gentry. A key aspect of the capital outlay appropriation process involves lawmakers recommending local projects on behalf of their constituents. Only a fraction of the projects make it into the bill, when legislators must choose how to allocate their share of the bond money. The $294 million bill included $84 million for lawmaker projects, divided equally between the House and Senate, then divided equally between the lawmakers in each body.
Gov. Susana Martinez signed a nearly $300-million capital outlay bill on Wednesday that passed during a special legislative session last week after it failed to pass during the regular session earlier this year. Martinez was in Las Cruces, the latest stop in her tour of the state to promote the three pieces of legislation that passed during the special session. Martinez is also scheduled appear in Santa Teresa today, a day after appearing in Rio Rancho to tout the capital outlay package. Martinez highlighted the passage of funding for highway projects as part of the $294 million package. “Far too many of our roads are dangerous, and they are in dire need of repair.
Ever since November’s elections, Republicans have tabbed right-to-work legislation as a priority. The renewed attention comes as Republicans took control of the House for the first time in decades, giving rise to the possibility that right-to-work legislation would pass in New Mexico, making it the 25th state to pass such legislation. The legislation would forbid unions from collecting dues from non-union members or require employees to be a member of a union. Unions say this is needed because the union agreements cover all employees. Those critical of unions say it is unnecessary.