KUNM

N.M. Supreme Court Won’t Weigh In On Gov's Vetoes Right Now

May 11, 2017

The state Supreme Court decided that there’s still a way for Gov. Susana Martinez and lawmakers to work out their differences during a special session, so it doesn’t have to weigh in right now. The high court canceled a hearing Monday in a case the Legislature brought against the executive about some of her many vetoes. 

Gov. Martinez used her veto pen this year to cross off funding for the Legislature and all of higher education. That includes Carrie Tingley Hospital, the New Mexico School for the Blind and some student financial aid, to name a few.

Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, a Democrat, says he’s disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision, and the governor’s vetoes caused instability around New Mexico. "It’s made families and students worry about whether or not they’ll have a place to go to school this fall, and the business community’s in turmoil not knowing what the fiscal picture looks like for the next year," he says.

Legislative leaders petitioned the Supreme Court to hear arguments about those vetoes. They say she can’t effectively abolish the Legislature—a branch of government designed as a check for the executive—and other entities outlined in the state’s Constitution.

One of the governor’s spokespeople said in an email that governors have the authority to veto budget items and that Martinez hopes Democratic legislators will negotiate in good faith. Here's the full statement:

"The governor appreciates today's ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court. As she contended, governors have the authority to veto budgets and budget items and the proper way to resolve budget disputes is for the executive and Legislature to work together on a compromise that can both pass the legislature and be signed by the governor.

This comes down to out-of-touch Santa Fe trial lawyers in legislative leadership who are suing the governor because they want to raise gas taxes, and she is the only one standing in their way. Having been rebuffed by the Court, the Governor hopes Democratic legislators will now come to the table and actually negotiate in good-faith."

The special session is scheduled to start on Wednesday, May 24. 

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Get A Good Look At the Governor's Higher Ed Vetoes