SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – With only two weeks left in the 60-day legislative session, bills unrelated to appropriations finally got sent to the Governor’s desk for final action.
On Friday in the Senate, lawmakers passed three jobs-related bills out of the House of Representatives. Two of those were related to broadband infrastructure to bring high speed Internet to some of the most rural areas of New Mexico and entice businesses to move in.
The other was an bill that would allow that state to study the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp.
These are the first bills unrelated to plugging the 2017 budget crisis to get a passing vote from both the House and Senate, sending them on to Gov. Susana Martinez.
KRQE News 13 asked Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, if it normally takes this long to see bills head to the Governor’s desk.
“It is tough to get bills to the second floor,” he explained. “Remember, it’s got to go through committees in one house, then a floor, committees in a second house, then a floor, so we’re actually ahead of schedule kind of — ahead of schedule if you look at the prior years.”
Sen. Wirth said these first bills make it clear that New Mexico legislators, especially the Democrats, want to bring jobs to our state.
He says after Friday, bills will really begin flowing out of both chambers.
Sen. Wirth also mentioned the looming issue of the $300 million 2018 budget hole. He said he’s cautiously optimistic that lawmakers and the governor can agree to a solution for the gap over the next two weeks, although it will take some serious work.
When a bill reaches the Governor’s desk during the session, she has three days to act on it, unless the bill comes to her during the final three days of the session. In that case, she has 20 days to act.