Thursday, February 14, 2008

Guv Will Call Special Session Of Legislature; Regular 30 Day Session Adjourned at Noon Today 

They're being called back. Governor Richardson told reporters today he will call a special session of the Legislature because the lawmakers did not make any progress on his health care reform bill and other measures. He did not say when that special session would be held. He will consult with the legislative leadership on the timing. Here is the AP report. Here are Big Bill's opening remarks at the news conference.The Senate leadership's take on the session is here.

KOB-TV's Stuart Dyson was there and reports that the Governor did not hide his pleasure that, after much manuevering, a $384 million capital outlay bill made it to his desk and that he now has 20 days to sign it. "He relished saying that he has time to 'scrutinize' that bill," Dyson said.

The giant pork bill will likely be used as leverage over the lawmakers as they meet in the special, but when that would be Richardson would not say. Expectations are that it will be during the 20 day window that Bill has to sign or veto the pork bill so important to the legislators and their re-election bids.

Dyson also reported the Governor will hit the road with key staff to promote his health care proposal, hoping to drum up public support and put pressure on the legislators to pass it.

The Governor was highly critical of the state Senate, the graveyard for most of his proposals this session. He called it a "do-nothing Senate" and charged they had acted irresponsibly.

"Unfortunately, a handful of Senators, including certain members of the Senate leadership and the Senate Finance Committee, were more focused on power, turf and personal agendas." The Governor said.

Richardson's health care bill is highly controversial because of concerns over the cost. State Senator John Arthur Smith, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has led the charge against the measure citing fiscal concerns.

Unlike Richardson, Senate leaders did not see the now adjourned thirty day session as a failure. They said in a news release that they had fulfilled their primary responsibility of passing a state budget.

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