State legislators flooded the Roundhouse last Tuesday, March 20, on direct orders from the governor to convene a Special Session--only three days after the regular one had expired. At the same time, Bill Richardson was on a plane headed to California, where he would soon spend the next several hours shaking as many hands as he could (he does hold a record for such things), asking those on the other end to make him the next president.
Back in New Mexico, state senators were antsy, and after only six hours back in the seats they'd occupied for the past 60 days, they decided enough had been done in the regular session and called it quits, adjourning the Senate until further notice.
The state House, on the other hand, stayed, and by the close of Wednesday had moved their bills, passing all but one. So they went on recess.
On Saturday, March 24, the Senate was forced to reconvene (the rules of the Legislature state that if one house adjourns, they have three days, excluding Sundays, for the other house to adjourn as well, otherwise they have to return). But before even one bill was voted on, the Senate adjourned once again, sending a message to the governor, who was then campaigning in Nevada, that they weren’t going to back down.
The governor doesn’t appear worried. He was quoted in the Albuquerque Journal on Sunday saying he wouldn’t give up on getting the remaining bills voted on and would call another Special Session if needed.
Senate members will be forced to come back to the Roundhouse on Thursday, March 29, if the House remains in recess. If the Senate stays long enough to consider bills, along with their own, they’ll vote on the measures passed by the House last Wednesday, which would give domestic partners benefits, provide public financing for statewide campaigns and create a state ethics commission. The only bill that failed to get enough votes in the House was H7, which would have outlined new campaign reporting requirements. The Senate has a similar bill to consider.