Lawmakers divided on bills that were previously vetoed
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state’s Democrat-led Legislature on Wednesday placed bills that previously were vetoed by the state’s former Republican governor on a track for reconsideration and approval.
The revived initiatives include bills to create breastfeeding and lactation policies for jails and prisons; help ensure cave explorers have access to caverns under private property, and to keep secret the names of people who report sexual assault-related crimes as victims or witnesses.
Gov. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, has urged lawmakers to quickly send her a “rocket docket” of noncontroversial bills to sign that had been blocked by Susana Martinez, who left office on Dec. 31.
Bills that are placed on the fast track can be heard by just one House committee and one Senate committee before coming to a floor vote, said Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth. That is quicker than the standard two or three initial committee referrals.
Not every initiative vetoed by Martinez will be expedited.
At least two Senate committees will vet a previously vetoed measure to prohibit employers from inquiring about criminal convictions on initial employment applications. An identical 2017 bill from Democratic Sen. Bill O’Neill of Albuquerque and Republican Rep. Alonzo Baldonado of Los Lunas met with some resistance in the House, where it was approved 49-15.
The “rocket docket” could help legislative leaders claim immediate progress on long-stalled initiatives.
Republican House Minority Leader James Townsend says it may deny 19 new House members the opportunity to evaluate unfamiliar legislative proposals. He also fears tax implications may be glossed over.