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New Mexico Telegram » Economy, Education, Featured, New Mexico Senate, Roundhouse » Two Senators seek to override vetoes

Two Senators seek to override vetoes

State Senate SealFor the second time, Senate Majority Whip Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque, is starting the process to override a veto — this time he is joined by Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City.

Keller began the process on overriding the veto of a tax expenditure budget. Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the legislation last year.

The bill passed unanimously in the Senate in 2013 and by a 58-10 vote in the House. The governor then vetoed the legislation. It was the third time such legislation had been vetoed. Former Gov. Bill Richardson had also vetoed the legislation.

The legislation would require the state to create a budget that would review all of the tax breaks and incentives given by the state. It would help legislators determine which tax breaks help the state and which are not fiscally effective.

Morales also joined Keller in starting the process on overriding a veto by Martinez.

Morales’ bill was much closer. Morales had a bill to create a council for a teacher and principal evaluation system. That bill narrowly passed the Senate 21-18 and narrowly passed the House 35-32.

In order for a veto override to succeed, two-thirds of both chambers must vote to override the veto.

Keller has introduced a constitutional amendment that, if it passes both chambers, would ask voters to approve a tax expenditure budget.

In an interview with New Mexico Telegram before the session began, Keller thought the odds of a veto override succeeding were not good, which is why he went with a proposed constitutional amendment.

“The alternative to that process, of course it he override,” Keller said in the interview. “But the bar for an override is so high in a partisan climate that I just don’t think that’s a realistic situation.”

Keller had previously pushed for a veto override of a bill in 2010. Richardson had pocket vetoed a bill that would have allowed legislators to get greater access to confidential information related to Medicaid. The Senate passed a veto at the time but the House killed the override in a committee.

The House unanimously voted to override a veto of Richardson in 2004 but the Senate did not also vote to concur.

Attempted veto overrides were more common during Gov. Gary Johnson’s tenure. The libertarian governor was proud of the record of the most vetoes in the nation — more than all other governors in the nation combined — but the Democratically-controlled chambers also pushed back. In 1998, a veto override of a bill related to the health care of those with disabilities was successful.

Update (1:40 pm):

Added links to the two bills.

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Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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