A session marked by widespread agreement on the state’s budget and other issues, including an omnibus crime package, ended Thursday with lawmakers praising each other for their work.
“You really showed that you’re a speaker not only for your members, but for the whole state,” House Minority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, told House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe on the last day of the session. “… There’s a great deal more civility and there’s a great deal more camaraderie.”
Egolf said all House members shared credit.
“When we all act together, when we all act as one, that’s when we do our best work,” he said, “and so the credit isn’t really mine. It belongs to the whole group.”
After years of budget cuts and partisan battles, the Legislature had surplus money this year — and put it into a state budget that included pay raises and even a boost in funding for Spaceport America.
And though disagreement over some proposals sparked intense debate, lawmakers were able to agree on a comprehensive package of measures aimed at reducing crime.
Lawmakers and others negotiated over a bill to consolidate most local, nonpartisan elections into the final hour of the session, but it ultimately passed. So did a controversial proposal to give the spaceport greater secrecy after negotiations led the N.M. Foundation for Open Government to drop its opposition.
Those proposals are now in the hands of Gov. Susana Martinez.
In the final moments of the session, Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, praised his colleagues’ work.
“This place used to be almost a den of terror and anger and just plain not getting the job done for the people of the State of New Mexico,” he said. “And thank goodness we’ve come above that, hopefully, and we’ll stay here.”
“Party stuff has to be left outside, because we have to be sure we serve the people who send us here,” Ingle said.
Across the building, Egolf expressed optimism about the future.
“I think we’ve set a great example for future legislatures,” he said.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on NMPolitics.net.