SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The legislature reconvenes on Monday for a special session with their big focus being on approving new legislative district maps and appropriating federal COVID-relief funding. However, this special session is starting with controversy.
The issue surrounds the remaining $1.1 billion given to the state by the American Rescue Plan Act. Some lawmakers are not happy that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham had spent a good chunk of it after the Supreme Court told her not to.
The state treasurer confirmed last week that’s a violation of the order. Just two weeks ago, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of lawmakers, giving them the power to decide how the money is spent.
However, the state treasurer told KRQE News 13 the governor paid a recent invoice with the federal money. Last week, when Senator Jacob Candelaria found out about the money that was spent, he said the following.
“I am shocked over what appears to be either intentional non-compliance with the court’s order or simply gross negligence of not taking even the simplest of steps to ensure compliance,” said Sent. Candelaria.
The governor responded to the accusation in a statement saying the money was for services rendered that was obligated before the Supreme Court issued the ruling, adding the $269,000 will be returned immediately.
KRQE News 13 is waiting got confirm that the money is back in the fund. Some are now questioning if the governor will face any consequences for even spending the money in the first place after the order was made not to.
The special session starts at noon on Monday, Dec. 6. Lawmakers will approve new legislative district maps which happen every 10 years.