SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Wednesday marks the first full day of lawmaking in the 2023 session. After introductions and a speech from the Governor yesterday, lawmakers are now going to dig into capital outlay and more bills.
Starting at 9:00 a.m. this morning, the Senate Finance Committee will take a look at capital outlay projects across the state. The goal is to get an update on the millions spent on thousands of projects so far.
Capital outlay is funding used to build roads, pay for building upgrades, and support a wide range of infrastructure projects for the people of New Mexico. In recent years, some projects have been delayed, thanks in part to inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to reports from the Legislative Finance Committee.
This year, more funds will go towards more projects. But before lawmakers decide which projects to fund, they’ll be briefed on issues with current projects. They’ll also get a brief on the state of water in New Mexico.
Beyond that, legislators will continue to settle in and get ready for the real work of lawmaking: introducing, debating, and passing bills. For a breakdown of how that works, check out this KRQE News 13 story.
In case you missed it: Opening day Governor’s speech
Yesterday, the session began with ‘State of the State’ speech by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. In this annual speech, the Governor spoke about how New Mexico is faring and where she hopes it’s headed.
She highlighted the current extent of economic growth, increased access to education and healthcare, and improved public safety funding. “The state of our state today is an extraordinary accomplishment—by New Mexicans, for New Mexicans. We should all be proud of the work we have done and the impacts of our efforts,” she said.
Then, she turned her attention to the future: “We have more to do in order to deliver for New Mexicans who want nothing more than to realize their own vision of a better, brighter state—a state where there is no limit to what they can achieve.”
She listed her priorities for the 2023 lawmaking session, including tax rebates, addressing homelessness, universal childcare, and extended learning time in classrooms. She also talked about boosting funds for rural healthcare, expanding school-based healthcare, and codifying abortion rights in state law. Of course, for any of that to happen, it will take approval from the state’s Legislature.
And according to reactions by some lawmakers, there does seem to be some consensus from both Republicans and Democrats on a few issues. Both recognize that there’s benefits to funding New Mexico’s schools. Crime fighting also seems to be a point of general agreement, so far.
But not everyone was so optimistic. House Republican Leader Ryan Lane (R-Aztec) highlighted what he sees as shortcomings in a statement to the press: “What was missing from the Governor’s speech was any mention of the real issues New Mexicans are facing; she failed to mention just how far behind our students are, the record-breaking homicides in Albuquerque, doctors fleeing our state, how her priority eco-legislation will harm our farmers and ranchers, and sadly no mention of the oil and gas revenues or workers that are funding this progressive spending spree.”