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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ratbstard's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    New Alien City-(formerly New York City)

    Senate adjourns, leaving House to wrap up session

    Senate adjourns, leaving House to wrap up session
    Associated Press
    Posted: 09/24/2011 01:04:30 AM MDT

    SANTA FE, N.M.—Lawmakers are approaching the end of a special legislative session dominated by partisan conflict over plans to draw new boundaries of districts for elected offices.

    The fight over redistricting will shift to the courts because of promised vetoes by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez of several redistricting plans passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature. A judge probably will end up drawing the boundaries of House, Senate and congressional districts.

    The House meets Saturday morning to try to finish work on a congressional redistricting plan and consider a more than $80 million financing package for capital improvements.

    The Senate adjourned about 1 a.m. Saturday, leaving the House with few options other than trying to adopt a Senate-passed congressional redistricting plan that is opposed by Republicans.

    Lawmakers gave final approval Friday to redistricting plans for the House, Senate, Public Regulation Commission and Public Education Commission. However, the governor has promised to veto the House and Senate plans.

    With the Senate gone, much of the governor's agenda for the special session is doomed. Martinez had wanted lawmakers to end the state's practice of issuing driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. The governor also sought a measure to require schools to hold back third-graders if they can't read proficiently.

    If the House remains in session and doesn't adjourn, the Senate would have to return to the Capitol after three days although Sunday isn't counted in that deadline. The special session cost an estimated $50,000 a day and will run out of money early next week.

    Republicans contend the proposed districts for the 42-member Senate and the 70-member House will boost Democrats in parts of the state, making it harder for the GOP to pick up more seats in future elections.

    Democrats hold a 27-15 majority in the Senate and a narrow 36-33 edge in the House. There's one independent in the House.

    "It took 18 days for House and Senate Democrats to pass a radically partisan redistricting map that reflects no attempt to compromise, and which they know will be vetoed by the governor," Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said after the Senate plan won final approval.

    Democrats contend the redistricting plans don't unfairly tilt the political landscape in their favor and will meet the legal requirements that courts have established over the years for political district boundaries.

    "We did what we were brought here to do constitutionally. I think we worked very hard in getting the redistricting done," Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, said in an interview.

    Darnell said the governor was reviewing the PRC and Education Commission plans and hasn't decided whether to sign or veto them.

    Lawmakers must draw new district boundaries to adjust for population changes during the past decade. The goal is to equalize district populations as much as possible to comply with the doctrine of one person, one vote.

    Redistricting is greatly influenced by long-standing population trends in New Mexico, where growth in urban areas has outpaced smaller communities and rural portions of the state.

    Parts of the Albuquerque area west of the Rio Grande, including the community of Rio Rancho, accounted for about two-fifths of the state's population growth since 2000.

    To deal with that growth, Democratic-backed House and Senate redistricting plans create new districts on the west side of Albuquerque. To make way for those new seats, districts are consolidated in other parts of Albuquerque and in southeastern New Mexico.

    Still pending is a plan for revising the boundaries of New Mexico's three congressional districts. The Senate passed a measure earlier this week but Republicans contend the proposal will strengthen Democratic support in the Albuquerque-area 1st District.

    Democrats won the 1st District seat in 2008 after it was in GOP hands for nearly four decades.

    The 3rd District has been solidly Democratic in its voting since it was established in the early 1980s, and it would remain that way under the Senate-passed plan. The 2nd District has been reliably Republican and that would continue. Democrat Harry Teague was elected in 2008 in the 2nd District but lost to Republican Steve Pearce in 2010.


    The congressional redistricting bill is SB22. The capital project package is committee substitute SB10.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    In the water
    Just like the house did last time went on 5 week vacation.

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