Santa Fe, NM- With recent discussions of a possible special-legislative session, the voters must not forget the fact that Democrats in the House and Senate were successful in one aspect— slowing down legislation the best they could.
Weeks ago, local-TV news brought attention to two different videos of Democrat Party bosses themselves— Sen. Michael Sanchez and Rep. Brian Egolf—divulging their plans to use political tactics and maneuvers to stonewall the legislative process and prevent bills from ever becoming law.
“Both Democrats in the House and Senate promised to hold up the legislative process at all costs. Not only did they succeed in doing so, they are just as likely to stonewall the process again,” said Pat Garrett, Spokesman for the Republican Party of New Mexico. “The voters deserve better than that.”
NM legislature at gridlock; has passed just one bill so far
By: Stu Dyson
Gridlock. That’s how a good many state lawmakers in both parties are describing the legislative session. Republicans are accusing Democrats of using “stall” tactics to slow things down.
Here’s how it works: Republicans are in the majority in the state House of Representatives, so they can pass anything they want. But the bills go over to the state Senate, where Democrats are in the majority, and they can kill anything they want to kill. The favorite method is to let bills sit in committees until the clock runs out.
“Bills have always come to die in the Senate,” joked Sen. Michael Sanchez, the Democrats’ floor leader, on Day One of the session back in January.
Two weeks ago, House Democratic leader Rep. Brian Egolf openly discussed the slowdown at a town hall meeting.
“On these things that we think are really harmful and detrimental to the state, we’re trying to slow them down as best we can do,” Egolf told the audience. “The longer we can hold them in the House, the easier it will be for the folks in the Senate to keep them from going to the governor’s desk.”
The result? Three-hour debates in the House on bills when everybody knows that the outcome will be along party line votes.
“Time and time again, both Michael Sanchez and Brian Egolf have said that they’re going to block progress,” said House Republican leader Nate Gentry. “We’re hoping that they’ll listen to the people of this state and pass legislation that we send over there that the vast majority of New Mexicans support.”
Gentry is talking about right-to-work and banning drivers licenses for illegal immigrants and stopping the “social promotion” of third-graders who can’t read. Recent polling shows most New Mexicans are with the Republicans on those issues. But there’s no rule that the minority has to go along with the majority in politics. Au contraire, as Republicans learned in their sixty years as the minority party in the New Mexico House. Democrats are playing hardball – even if it’s in slow motion.
So far, just one bill has passed both the House and Senate and made it to the governor’s desk – and that’s the bill that pays for the legislative session itself