Gov. Susana Martinez signed three bills Friday afternoon — less than 24 hours before the session ends — and explained why she vetoed a fourth.
In vetoing House Bill 42, Martinez wrote that the bill “would lower standards of learning, which is completely unacceptable,” and would increase costs for school districts to evaluate materials and negotiate purchases.
The legislation, sponsored by Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque, would have changed the definition of “instructional material” in the Public School Code to expand what materials school districts and charter schools can use.
Giving a reason for her veto is a shift from the past couple of days, when the governor nixed several bills without including explanations in her veto messages. Democratic lawmakers say the N.M. Constitution requires Martinez to provide an explanation. The issue could end up in court.
Meanwhile, the three bills the governor signed Friday are:
• House Bill 77, sponsored by Jim Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, which exempts senior-services transportation providers from paying a $10,000 permit fee.
• House Bill 97, sponsored by David Akins, R-Albuquerque, and Daymon Ely, D-Corrales, which allows cities to establish post-employment life insurance benefits trusts for employees.
• House Bill 127, sponsored by Minority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, which modernizes the state’s law on insurance payments to allow electronic transfers of funds in addition to checks and drafts.
The governor is in a battle with senators and hasn’t signed any Senate bills in days. The session ends at noon on Saturday.