Gov. Susana Martinez “will absolutely act” on legislation that is sitting on her desk by the noon Friday deadline, her spokesman says.
There are approximately 200 bills awaiting action by Martinez before that deadline. Any she doesn’t sign or veto are nixed by pocket veto.
“Since the end of the legislative session, she has spent the bulk of her time reviewing each bill, one by one, with staff,” Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez said. “She’s still in the process of reviewing the budget and will announce her decision in the coming days. As she has said in the past, though, she will not raise taxes on our families.”
The governor was scheduled to take a trip to Tennessee this week for a law enforcement conference and return Wednesday. She ended up turning around in Dallas and returning to New Mexico because bad weather caused her to miss a connecting flight, Sanchez said.
That didn’t stop Democrats from slamming Martinez for leaving the state with the bill-signing deadline looming.
“The fact that the Gov even tried going anywhere this week with a deadline for more than 200 bills on her desk is absolutely irresponsible,” tweeted Democratic Party of New Mexico communications director Felicia Salazar.
The governor and Legislature ended the session last month in a standoff over the state’s budget woes. Martinez has expressed dissatisfaction with the plan to balance the state budget that lawmakers approved, which includes some tax increases, and promised to call a special session soon. Whether she will sign the budget and tax bills, veto them, or approve them with partial vetoes isn’t clear.
Among other bills awaiting the governor’s decision is House Bill 174, which would consolidate most local elections into one in an effort to increase voter turnout. Sanchez said the governor’s office would make an announcement on that legislation once Martinez acts on it.
He also said there would be some pocket vetoes, as there often are.