NM House members including Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Sandoval counties in session during the 2015 regular session. Courtesy/VDP
SANTA FE – The New Mexico Legislature met in a short one day Special Session to pass a Capital Outlay bill that funds needed infrastructure construction projects worth $295 million, a few limited tax breaks for business, and a $4.3 million appropriation in emergency funding for Magistrate Courts and the Department of Health.
The Special Session, which lasted a little over four hours, was called by Gov. Susana Martinez after her office and Legislative leadership concluded months of brinksmanship style negotiating to revive a Capital Outlay appropriation that failed to pass following a political meltdown in the regular session, which ended in March.
The Capital Outlay funding for infrastructure construction projects was contained in Senate Bill 1. Both the Senate and House passed it unanimously, restoring $10 million for repairs and improvements for many senior centers. Funds also will flow to infrastructure projects at institutions of higher education, public libraries, fire stations, elementary schools, at tribal entities as well as local projects throughout the state.
Majority Leader Sen. Michael S. Sanchez
“We came together and took action to kick-start jobs across the state by passing needed infrastructure construction projects. We also got some relief for individuals and families who have high unreimbursed medical expenses,” said Majority Leader Sen. Michael S. Sanchez, D-29-Bernalillo and Valencia. “I am pleased that we could forge a real compromise with Gov. Susana Martinez and House Republicans to put progress before partisanship. I am proud of my fellow Senators from both parties for sticking to our principles to put the best interests of the people of our state first,”
Included in the tax-breaks portion of the legislative package was the restoration of an expired tax deduction for medical expenses that go unreimbursed by health insurers. That bill passed the House 60-2 and the Senate 31-11.
Last Friday afternoon, the Governor issued a call for a special session once the Republican Governor and GOP House reached an agreement with the Democratic controlled Senate.
All legislation now goes to the Governor who may sign, veto or line item veto the agreed upon compromise.