From the Roundhouse: Two Deadlines

March 12th, 2013 at 9:03 am by under Latest Posts, Politics

Monday we saw the pace pick up in Santa Fe as bills both large and small (mostly small) made their way to the fourth floor to face the wrath of the Governor’s veto pen or into the next chamber.

That included the “Breaking Bad” film tax credits bill, a statewide health insurance exchange, a bill cutting penalties pot possession and the long-awaited spaceport liability bill.

The quick pace should be get a little quicker on some issues because of the two deadlines in effect at the Roundhouse.

One is the obvious one…. Saturday at noon. That’s when the session is over. If your bill isn’t up to the Governor by then, you’re out of luck plain and simple.

But the other one is one Democrats especially have their eye on.

According to the New Mexico Constitution, the Governor’s time to render a veto has everything to do with when that bill is passed.

During the first 57 days of the session (or 27 days during even years), any proposal that makes it past the legislature must be acted on within three days or it becomes law.

A veto then and a two-thirds vote of each chamber overrides the Governor.

But in the last three days, the power shifts to the fourth floor. The Governor gets 20 days to look at bills and any veto is final.

That means any proposal that has the support of the legislature but leaves doubt as to whether the Governor is totally on board is best passed before the last three days.

There’s no perfect example for what that kind of bill would be.

Minimum wage certainly appears to be unpopular with Governor Martinez, but there would likely be problems scraping together the two-thirds vote needed.

The “Breaking Bad” bill is expected to be signed, but some Democrats tell me it makes sense to get it on her desk before the three-day deadline “just in case”. This hesitancy could have to do with the cap Governor Martinez helped put on film tax credits in the first place.

Perhaps the best example might be the budget. The Senate hasn’t monkeyed around too much with the House version, except for taking out a key provision for teacher merit pay the administration wanted.

There’s some thought that the 1 percent raise for all state workers could be axed by a line item veto as retribution. Getting the budget upstairs sooner rather than later would give the legislature time to override. They may have the votes based on the support the House gave the bill.

Bill of the Day

HB 223

Rep. Larry Larranaga’s, R-Albuquerque, bill to push economic development stirred some debate on the House floor before passing 51-14.

HB 223 provides a GRT deduction for companies working with the Department of Defense on directed energy and satellite projects.

You can learn more about the bill in my story┬╗

HB 223 has one committee to clear in the Senate but it faces a tall task.

It’s been assigned to Senate Finance, where chair John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, (aka Dr. No) presides. In past interviews I’ve done with him he hasn’t looked at tax breaks and loopholes too fondly and the potential $33.6 million revenue loss from the bill in the first four years isn’t likely to make him smile.

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