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.
Gov. Susana Martinez signed a tax package on Monday afternoon that she says will create jobs throughout the state. Martinez, accompanied by those in the business community as well as legislators, signed the legislation in Albuquerque. The state Legislature passed the tax package last week overwhelmingly during a special session. The package failed to pass during the regular session earlier this year. “We must diversify our economy and grow our private sector, and that requires us to make it easier for those with great ideas to start a new business in New Mexico,” Martinez said in a statement.
The New Mexico Legislature passed a capital outlay bill that will fund more than 1,000 infrastructure projects throughout the state during a special session earlier this week. Depending on your point of view, legislators came back and were able to put aside differences and pass a bipartisan bill or they finally got work done that should have been done in the 60-day session that took place earlier this year. In all, there will be $295 million in spending, most from severance tax bonds but some from the state general fund and other state funds. The smallest amount appropriated was $1,000 for the Questa Veterans Memorial. Legislators earmarked over $16 million for the largest individual project.
It’s now official: Governor Susana Martinez has called a special session for Monday. The special session is expected to last just one day, as negotiators from the governor’s office, the House and Senate announced a deal had been made. Martinez’s office sent a release to the media on Friday evening, saying that she is calling the state legislature into a special legislative session at noon on Monday. Some, including legislators, thought it had been too late for a special session to happen. But an action by the state Board of Finance made it possible.
After on-and-off negotiations since the end of the legislative session in March, state lawmakers recently came to an agreement with Gov. Susana Martinez on a capital outlay and tax package deal that will bring them back to Santa Fe for a special session next week. This, despite repeated statements from state Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, that a special session had to occur by May 18—more than two weeks ago. “We don’t think we can do that after the 18th,” Smith told New Mexico Political Report last month. From our May 14 report: Smith said if legislators can’t strike a deal before a creeping deadline of Monday, May 18, all bets are pretty much off. That’s because New Mexico’s next fiscal year starts July 1, and bond sales for state infrastructure projects need 30 days to advertise before then.
It turns out that when Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, told New Mexico Political Report that a deal on capital outlay for capital outlay legislation and a tax package was near, he was very literal. Gov. Susana Martinez announced in a press release Wednesday afternoon, just hours after Smith said a deal was near, that the two sides reached an agreement and that she will call a special session. It will be just the second special session that Martinez has called since being in office, the previous one in 2011 dealt with the required decennial redistricting. The special session is tentatively scheduled for June 8, though Martinez’s office did not say it would for sure happen on that date. The capital outlay package will be $295 million in size.
A deal on a capital outlay measure and a tax package bill could revive a previously dead special legislative session next week. Update: A special session will happen, as soon as Monday, Gov. Susana Martinez announced. See here for details. This post continues as originally written below. State Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, told New Mexico Political Report that legislators have been notified to set next Monday and Tuesday aside to be available for a possible session.
The odds of a special session are nearing nil, as a spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez said that she has “no intention” to call a special session for capital outlay funding. If Martinez’s intention remains the same, there will be no capital outlay spending this year, since the Legislature failed to pass such legislation during the year’s regular session. The capital outlay legislation would have funded more than $200 million in spending for infrastructure and other projects throughout the state. A spokesman for Martinez told the Albuquerque Journal about the special session possibility, or lack thereof.A Martinez spokesman said the governor met twice today with Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, the lead negotiator for the Senate Democrats, in an attempt to forge an elusive deal on special session legislation. However, the news release sent out later in the day by Senate Democrats, which the Governor’s Office blasted as “partisan” and “misleading,” apparently prompted the decision not to call a special session — at least for now.Earlier on Thursday, New Mexico Political Report reported that Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, was not optimistic about a special session being called.
House Republicans say there is no deal for a special session, despite reports to the contrary, leaving millions of dollars of capital outlay projects in limbo. Senate Democrats agreed to what they called a compromise deal late Thursday night. Speaker of the House Don Tripp issued a statement saying that there was no deal on Friday morning. “It is stunning that the Senate Democrats would publicly trumpet ‘mission accomplished’ on a capital outlay deal by agreeing to their own proposal when no one else even knows the details of the proposal,” Tripp said in the statement. “It’s unfortunate that the Senate Democrats would rather govern by press releases than engage in good faith negotiations with the House and the Executive.
Senate Democrats said a deal on capital outlay legislation is near and a legislators could be headed back to Santa Fe to pass the infrastructure funding bill. Update: House Republicans say there is no deal. Senate Democrats announced late Thursday night that they approved of a deal on capital outlay with House Republicans. The deal was made based on discussions between Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, who served as the Democrats’ chief negotiator, and Speaker of the House Don Tripp, R-Socorro, according to Demcorats. “The package restores funding to senior centers, higher education institutions, and tribal communities,” a release from the Senate majority said.