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Legislature Sues Gov. Martinez Over Vetoes

Legislature Sues Gov. Martinez Over Vetoes

The suit accuses Martinez of violating the state constitution when she vetoed the entirety of the budgets for the state Legislature and all higher education in New Mexico.

BY ANDY LYMAN

New Mexico Political report

The New Mexico Legislature filed a lawsuit against Gov. Susana Martinez Friday morning.

The suit accuses Martinez of violating the state constitution when she vetoed the entirety of the budgets for the state Legislature and all higher education in New Mexico.

Filed by the Legislative Council’s lawyer Tom Hnasko, the lawsuit calls the line-item veto of legislative funding an “attempt to eviscerate the ability of the other branch [of government] to perform its essential functions.”

In his filing, Hnsako asks the court to invalidate Martinez’s line-item vetoes of both the Legislature and higher education.

The lawsuit also accuses Martinez of cutting higher education money because the state Senate did not confirm her two choices for University of New Mexico regents.

“Governor Martinez, through an executive message, attempted to conjoin and pre-condition executive approval of all higher education by requiring Senate confirmation of the regents she had nominated,” the lawsuit read.

Besides Martinez, the lawsuit also names New Mexico Department of Finance Secretary Dorothy “Duffy” Rodriguez as a respondent.

The Senate Democrats released a statement from President Pro Tem and Legislative Council co-Chair Mary Kay Papen.

“Today’s action is important to check the power of the executive and protect against any overreach on behalf of those we represent,” Papen said in her statement. “The Governor’s political ideology is not above the law.”

NM Political Report requested comment from a spokesman for Martinez and will add it to this story if we receive one.

The lawsuit comes after the 16-member Legislative Council voted earlier this month to take the governor to court. The vote took place behind closed doors and the Legislative Council declined to say who voted for the lawsuit.

In the same meeting, the Legislative Council voted to seek an extraordinary session, which would require three-fifths of the members in each chamber. If they are able to do so, Legislators would call themselves into a session much like a special session.

Martinez’s vetoes of higher education also got national attention earlier this week.

 

 

 

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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