It came after a call of the house by Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque. This means that all members of House must be in the chamber and cannot leave until the call of the house is lifted.
Legislators, and observers, waited for two hours for all 70 members to be found.
The motion to move the drivers license legislation from committee to the floor was divided into four different questions — essentially asking to move from one committee to another and then the floor.
The House moved the bill from the Labor and Human Resources Committee to the House Judiciary Committee on a 36-34 vote. Democratic Reps. Dona Irwin of Deming, Sandra Jeff of Crownpoint, Mary Helen Garcia of Las Cruces and Stephanie Garcia Richard of Los Alamos voted along with all Republicans on the motion.
Then there was extensive debate over whether it should stay in the House Judiciary Committee.
The committee chair Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, argued that it should be heard in the committee because of the committee’s expertise.
Gentry argued that the bill was so important that it needed to bypass the committees.
“This is a result of the frustration with the committee process,” Gentry said.
Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, asked why this bill was so important that it should bypass the committee process but others were not as important to do so.
“I believe that getting New Mexicans back to work is the most important issue in front of the legislature,” Egolf said.
After that long debate came the real chaos.
The vote was again 36-34. But this time Garcia Richard voted against moving it from the Judiciary Committee. Her vote was erased by Albuquerque Democrat Christine Trujillo’s vote for the motion.
Speaker Ken Martinez, D-Grants, announced the vote, which meant the bill now sat in the House Appropriation and Finance Committee.
After several minutes of confusion, Trujillo said meekly, “Mr. Speaker, I pressed the wrong button.”
Since Martinez had already announced the vote, her vote could not be changed. A motion to reconsider the vote likely would not pass — it would likely deadlock at 35-35, meaning it would fail, and was not attempted.
Which led to several more minutes of off-microphone discussion among House members.
Then the House voted on the question of moving it from the Appropriations and Finance Committee to the House floor for consideration.
The vote to move the bill from the House Appropriations and Finance Committee was a 35-35 vote. This means the motion failed and it stays in the committee.
Garcia Richard and Trujillo voted against the motion.
Filed under: Featured, Immigration, New Mexico House, Roundhouse · Tags: Brian Egolf, Christine Trujillo, Dona Irwin, Drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants, Gail Chasey, House Appropriations and Finance Committee, House Judiciary Committee, House Labor and Human Resources Committee, Ken Martinez, Mary Helen Garcia, Nate Gentry, Sandra Jeff, Stephanie Garcia Ricihard