Preparing for Gov. Martinez’ final legislative push

The 2017 legislative session saw the state House of Representatives change control and choose new leadership. The new House majority triggered a strong showing for conservation legislation, as many bills made it further through the legislative process than they ever have. The 2017 CVNM Scorecard showed strong improvement in the
conservation performance of both chambers, with 27 legislators achieving perfect 100% scores.

Unfortunately, a record high number of 100% scores doesn’t change the priorities of the person holding the veto pen, Governor Susana Martinez. The 2018 session will be a short 30-day session, limited to issues affecting the budget, taxes and revenue. In addition to these issue areas, the governor may issue legislative “messages” opening other areas of public policy for the legislature to craft legislation around. In the past the governor has used this process for policy initiatives that favor her campaign donors or intentionally create division and wreak havoc such as reinstating the death penalty.

Indications of what we’ll see in 2018 have been scarce. As usual, most of the legislature’s time and focus will be consumed with passing a budget that allows the state government to stay in business. Here at CVNM, we’re preparing to resume the defense work that has been our hallmark since 2005 – stopping rollback legislation designed to trade out commonsense environmental and health protections for shareholder dividends and
executive bonuses. This could mean more tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, preemption laws that remove communities’ ability to set their own environmental standards or attacks on New Mexico wildlife. The 2018 legislative session is Governor Martinez’s last chance to pass damaging, short-sighted legislation and we’ll be prepared to fight her every step of the way.

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