NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The clock is ticking at the Roundhouse as the 2023 legislative session comes to a close in New Mexico. Lawmakers are scrambling to finish up their work before the session ends tomorrow, Saturday, Mar. 18, at noon.
After going through the House of Representatives and the Senate, 189 bills and resolutions have made it to the governor’s desk. One of the biggest hangups for legislators has been trying to come up with a compromise on a tax bill.
Legislators have given some closing statements as the session nears its end. Senator Gregory Baca of Bernalillo and Valencia said, “We’ve seen some good things and some bad things, you know, that we didn’t agree with, go through.” Representative Joy Garratt of Bernalillo said, “The session has had lots of ups and downs. There’s been major bills that I didn’t necessarily sponsor but that I really supported. I was very pleased with the tax bill, the voting rights bill.”
As the finish line nears, representatives and senators are working to get the last bills to the governor’s desk – especially one that would add more time in the classroom for students; that bill is House Bill 130, which would make 1,140 hours of instruction a requirement for New Mexico students.
Although Republicans are outnumbered in the New Mexico legislature, both parties were able to work together on some bills. One of those bills would drastically lower the cap on medical malpractice settlements.
Friday night, Mar. 17, things are still moving along in the legislature. The governor signed a bill that would end life sentences without parole for juveniles, and a bill that would help protect children by creating a civil rights division in the attorney general’s office is now heading to the governor’s desk. However, many other big bills – including one that would raise the liquor tax – are stuck in the committee process.
The night isn’t done yet as one of the biggest bills right now, the omnibus tax reform bill is still stuck as lawmakers try to strike a deal. The $1.3 billion tax package includes rebates of $500 for single tax filers and $1,000 for joint filers.
Lawmakers are still on their respective floors and their work is expected to go on late into the night. After the session ends, the governor and legislative leadership will hold a news conference. KRQE News 13 will provide complete coverage of the 60-day session on-air and online.