NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – It’s the final stretch for lawmakers trying to get their bills across the finish line, and there’s quite a bottleneck; every day, the stack of bills waiting for discussion and votes keep piling up.
“Many of us recognize a bill like this; it’s the reauthorization bill we do every year for different projects. This bill reauthorizes 299 capital projects,” says Senator Nancy Rodriguez (D-Santa Fe.) Rodriguez advocated for her bill, Senate Bill 309, on the Senate Floor Monday, Mar. 13. It’s one of around 70 bills on the Senate’s docket. Chipping away at the growing list, the Senate set out a goal to clear ten bills on Monday.
The end of the session is bringing a mash-up of bills. Bills range vastly, including juvenile life sentences without a chance for parole, firearm sale waiting periods, menstrual products in school bathrooms, and cannabis record expungement.
It’s not just the Senate that faces a growing list; the House Floor has 80 bills waiting to be heard as well. The Senate did vote on some of the bills Monday, including Senate Bill 426, which passed. “This bill comes at the request of the new attorney general. And working with our office in Senate Judiciary to try and establish a new division of the attorney general’s office with a specific focus on civil rights,” says Senator Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces.)
So far this session, only 27 bills and resolutions have made it to the Governor’s desk. These include Bennie’s Bill, educational assistant salary increases, and a bill reinstating driver’s licenses without a fee if the license was lost due to failure to pay or appear in court.
More than 300 bills and resolutions have cleared one chamber but not the other. That’s out of nearly 1100 bills and resolutions filed this session – many of which are still working their way through committees.
To prevent some of this bottlenecking, there is a push to let voters decide if bills and resolutions that stall one year should be carried over to the next without starting from scratch. That House Joint Resolution is waiting for a vote on the House Floor.