SANTA FE – Today House leadership of both parties agreed on a compromise amendment to provide emergency funding to New Mexico’s judiciary branch.
The compromise was adopted as an amendment to House Bill 261 in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee earlier today. The amendment, drafted by Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) and Rep. Nate Gentry (R-Bernalillo), makes supplemental appropriations for the New Mexico Supreme Court and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).
The bipartisan compromise will provide $83,000 to the Supreme Court to meet a projected $82,600 shortfall in its current year budget. The bill also allocates $593,000 to the AOC to pay for jury and witness fees as well as other operational needs.
“We studied our options carefully and this was the best way to ensure that our courts can keep their doors open and function as normal. Make no mistake, this is a judicial crisis that threatens public safety and requires urgent action by both parties of this legislature,” said Rep. Patty Lundstrom (D-Gallup), chair of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
“In his address to the legislature a few weeks ago, Chief Justice Daniels raised serious issues about the state of New Mexico’s judiciary. We listened, and I’m pleased we were able to work out a way to meet these emergency funding needs,” Rep. Gentry said.
House Bill 261 passed the House unanimously his evening. It now moves to the Senate for concurrence.