Press release: Republican senators comment as legislative session

Santa Fe — The 30 day Legislative Session ended at noon today and concluded a month full of debate, discussion and ended with a new, balanced budget to run state government starting in July.

Many Republican State Senators say it is a good budget that continues to invest in public education, while meeting its financial responsibilities to fund Medicaid. The $5.6 billion dollar budget spends about $220 million more than the current year budget. Much of that 4% increase goes to public schools and Medicaid. The legislature also passed over $280 million in capital outlay for many New Mexico communities.

Passing a balanced budget in the 30 day legislative session, is the only constitutional requirement the legislature has in the even numbered years when the session is held. In addition to passing a budget, education reform and tax breaks to encourage economic development in the state were hotly debated during the session. Senators predicted that the bills that did not pass regarding education reform, tax reductions to encourage economic development and stopping illegal immigrants from receiving New Mexico driver’s licenses will be back.

“We had a very deliberative session and we have produced a good budget for the state,” Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle said. “It is disappointing that we were not able stop the state from issuing driver’s licenses to people who come to our state illegally. Many come here solely to get our license to be used as a legitimate form of identification to be able to travel freely around our country. I dread the day one of our New Mexico licenses is used by someone who was not here legally to do great harm against our country and our against our people. I fear New Mexico will deservedly receive the rage of the world.”

A number of bills passed the Senate, while some bills that many of the Republican Senators wanted were killed or were not even presented on the Senate floor.

The House bill to stop the practice of issuing driver’s licenses to people who are in the state illegally was not even able to be debated on the Senate floor.

All Republican Senators voted against a Senate bill that would have allowed licenses to be given to people here illegally and would have required them to apply each year for the driver’s license.

A major bill to fight corruption passed both the Senate and the House and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.