ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - One big bill that was the center of a last-second deal was enough to salvage the 2013 session of the Legislature.
It turns out it was enough to OK a bipartisan $5.9 billion budget with a 1 percent pay hike for state employees and teachers, their first raise since 2008.
Gov. Susana Martinez signed that budget Friday using her line-item veto power to slash about $21 million worth of spending from the bill. But she left the pay raise intact despite her opposition to the idea in January.
This could've all been very different save for one bill that passed in the closing seconds of the session.
Lawmakers and the governor came to a late agreement on a tax-reform package that cuts corporate tax rates while giving a boost to film incentives and closing a loophole on big-box retailers. Before that deal, the governor had threatened to veto the budget and call legislators back to Santa Fe for a costly special session.
"With that jobs package, with our single-sales factor as well our business tax going down, we felt if we bring in better jobs, higher-paying jobs, that we're then able to give that 1 percent," Martinez said Friday.
Miles Conway with AFSCME, a union that represents many state workers, hailed Martinez's decision as a positive step even though the pay raise is mostly neutralized by higher health care costs for state workers.
"This is a good day for a new chapter in a relationship between the governor and public employee unions," Conway said. "She has signed the bills that protect our pensions, and she has made a good gesture with that 1 percent raise."
Some state workers are getting a larger raise than others. State Police and Motor Transportation Department police are set to get a 4 percent raise as part of the budget.
The budget the governor signed calls for a 4 percent increase in state spending while keeping state cash reserves at about 11 percent.
Martinez signed and vetoed a number of bills on the last day of the signing period.
She approved a capital outlay bill with only $4.4 million worth of projects vetoed, about a fifth of what she vetoed from a similar bill a year ago.
She also signed bills that allow pregnant and parenting teens to get maternity leave and a bill to extend the hours of Sunday alcohol sales by two hours allowing them to start at 10 a.m. instead of noon.
Three Albuquerque veterans remember vividly the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the U.S. into World War II 72 years ago Saturday.
A high school football player caught on camera punching an opponent and giving him a concussion during the state semifinals will not be suspended from the championship game by the New Mexico Activities Association.
The Sandoval County sheriff's sergeant struck by a car during a crash investigation on snow-slickened Interstate 25 Thursday has died.
After getting out of federal prison early this week it looks like former state Sen. Manny Aragón isn't at a halfway house after all. He's back at his own house in the South Valley.
The owner and an employee of a local smoke shop are in federal custody accused of selling spice at the Rio Rancho store.
The New Mexico State Police officer who fired his weapon at van filled with kids during a traffic stop gone bad has been fired.