ACLU claims governor’s veto is unconstitutional

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There is a battle brewing between the ACLU and Governor Susana Martinez for her line-item veto of a crime and public safety package.

House Bill 19, included increasing penalties for felons with guns and measures to get more police on the streets with retention payments.

Gov. Martinez signed the bill Wednesday, but line-item vetoed parts of it including a reversal of a current law that says if someone doesn’t appear in court, their license is suspended.

The ACLU says what she did is unconstitutional claiming she only has the authority to veto when a bill appropriates funds. 

“Clearly some legal analysis needs to be done. We think it’s a legal stretch to say that the governor has the authority to line-item veto a piece of legislation like this simply because it taps into an existing fund,” said Peter Simonson from the ACLU of New Mexico. 

A spokesman for the Governor’s office argues that the bill does appropriate funds for police officers so her veto is valid. 

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