Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Legislative session sparks ire at ending

Gov. Bill Richardson termed this the “year of the Legislature.”

Many lawmakers left Santa Fe on Thursday using different words.

“This session was mean, ugly, nasty and vicious,” said Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis. “We didn’t get off the floor until 5 a.m. on Thursday. Thank goodness this is over.”

Many veteran lawmakers said the 30-day session included too many items.

“It was crazy,” said Rep. Brian Moore, R-Clayton. “I have been here four times and this is the worst I have gone through. We all are tired and cranky. We call it a meltdown. It was just wild.”

Many lawmakers have been preaching the same message since the session started in mid-January — a 30-day session should be focused on the budget.

“The whole idea of the 30-day session is to do the budget,” Moore said. “We can take on some other things if we need to, but not 1,200 bills, major tax changes and new DWI legislation. All of that is tough to do in a 60-day session. It was real challenging.”

Some lawmakers liked that there was so much to get done.

Rep. Jose Campos, D-Santa Rosa, said while things may have been hectic, he thought lawmakers did a good job overall.

“It was a blaze,” he said. “It was kind of like a flurry of projects. But overall I would say it was good. It turned out good. We got a lot of things done.”

Others disagreed.

“Non-partisan people who have been here for many years say this is the worst session we have ever endured,” Crook said. “I’m thrilled to death to go home.”

While Crook and others left the session exhausted and frustrated, New Mexico’s governor is all smiles.

Richardson called the session a “major victory for New Mexicans.”

The governor guided numerous issues, including the most controversial bill of the session, a tax on food.

As time ticked away on Thursday, the Legislature approved a proposal to remove the tax from food and some medical services.

It passed on a 23-19 vote.

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