Court rules Gov. Martinez vetoes invalid Web Staff with Associated Press
August 11, 2017 07:43 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. -- First Judicial District Court Judge Sarah Singleton on Friday has ruled to invalidate the vetoes of 10 bills by Gov. Susana Martinez during the 2017 regular legislative session.


The vetoes were contested in a lawsuit filed by legislators in June. A Democratic-led panel of legislators said Martinez failed to explain her objections to the bills in a written message as required by the state constitution. Lawmakers say the explanations are crucial to the legislative process.

"We're disappointed in this decision because there is no question the governor vetoed these bills," said Joseph Cueto, press secretary for the governor's office. "It's telling how some in the legislature love running to the courts when they know they don't have the support to override a veto."

The 10 bills in question are:

  • House Bill 126 - Financial Assistance For Medical Students, sponsored by Rep. Doreen Gallegos, D-Las Cruces
  • House Bill 144 - Industrial Hemp Research Rules, sponsored by Rep. Bealquin “Bill” Gomez, D-La Mesa
  • Senate Bill 6 - Industrial Hemp Research Rules, sponsored by Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque
  • Senate Bill 24 - Local Government Broadband Infrastructure, sponsored by Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque and Rep. James E. Smith, R-Sandia Park
  • Senate Bill 64 - Public School Capital Outlay Time Periods, sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque
  • Senate Bill 67 - Notification Of TIDD To County Treasurers, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe
  • Senate Bill 134 - Computer Science For School Graduation, sponsored by Sen. Jacob Candelaria and Rep. Debra M. Sariñana, both D-Albuquerque
  • Senate Bill 184 - Horse Racing Licenses, Health & Testing, sponsored by Papen
  • Senate Bill 222 - "Local Public Body" Exemption, sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics, D-Cerrillos
  • Senate Bill 356 - Notification Of Public Improvement Districts, sponsored by Rodriguez.

The governor's office can still appeal the decision. Barring an appeal, the bills are expected to become law around Sept. 1.

President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen and Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth issued statements after the ruling.

"We are very pleased that the voices of New Mexicans in the Roundhouse were restored," said Papen. "We urge Governor Martinez to accept the Court’s decision and allow the people of New Mexico to move on.   With the enactment of these ten bills, our students will be better able to learn science and math for good careers in the future, small businesses will have a better opportunity to thrive, and we will strengthen our state’s economy." 

Wirth said the ruling was a victory for the civic process.

"The Court’s decision today is a clear victory for our state Constitution, and for the principle that no branch of government is above the law," said Wirth. "By requiring the Governor to follow the process spelled out in the Constitution for vetoing legislation, the Legislature has a chance to correct the stated objection before the end of the session.  This is a win for the process and the people of New Mexico."

House Speaker Brian Egolf also weighed in. 

“This case was about computer science opportunities for school kids, economic development in agriculture, and defending the state’s constitution. Today’s ruling is a victory for our youth, our farmers, our communities and our constitution,” he said.

KOB will update this story as it develops.

Credits Web Staff with Associated Press

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