Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Guv Addresses Session, Plus: Liberals Hit At Roundhouse; Coalition Of R's And D's Elect Jennings As Senate President Pro Tem; Beats Cisneros 23 to 19 

  • Transcript of Governor's State of the State Speech here.
  • Video of the Governor's speech is here.
The eight Democratic Senators who joined with the 15 Republicans to give Roswell's Jennings the win were: Lovejoy, Munoz, Jennings, Morales, Papen, Smith, Lopez and Sapien.

The retention of Jennings as Pro Tem means John Arthur Smith is set to continue as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, setting a conservative tone in the Legislature's upper chamber as it grapples with huge budget deficits.

The Jennings victory may also have impact on other issues such as domestic partner rights and ethics reform, both of which have stalled out at recent Roundhouse sessions.

The Senate Democratic caucus recommended Cisneros over Jennings because Jennings had shown support for a Republican state senator in last year's election. But Cisneros of the Taos area could not close the deal and a coalition of R's and D's formed to keep Jennings. That last happened in 2001 when Dem Richard Romero was supported by Republicans and ousted Manny Aragaon from the leadership post.

The vote for Jennings by Corrales area freshman Dem Senator John Sapien was the one surprise for insiders. Will Sapien receive more favorable committee assignments because of his support of Jennings? The Senate President Pro Tem has a major say in committee assignments. They are expected to be finalized by tomorrow.

As expected, NM House Speaker Ben Lujan was re-elected speaker on a party line vote today.

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