Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Senate's Saturday Morning Special: They Again Vote To Adjourn Session; Defy Governor, But They Will Return 

The Capitol
A recalcitrant New Mexico Senate, refusing to bend to the will of Governor Richardson, briefly met Saturday and again voted to adjourn the special session first called by the Governor a week ago. But it appears they will have to come back Thursday to be in compliance with state law. The messy special is now inflicting political damage on both the Guv and the senate and the bills to pay for the do-nothing special come to some $50,000 a day. The Journal's Trip Jennings comes with this Roundhouse bulletin:

"The Senate voted to adjourn shortly before noon Saturday, bucking Gov. Bill Richardson's wish for the second time that it stay to take up work passed by the House earlier this week.

The Senate can stay adjourned until Thursday, when it must return and decide either to adjourn again or finally take up the work Richardson has asked the Legislature to complete in this special session."

The New Mexican's Terrell says the Senate managed to adjourn with only a one vote margin and that not all 42 Senators made it to Santa Fe:

There first was a voice vote to adjourn, when Senate President pro-tem Ben Altamirano ruled for the “nays.” But on a roll call the Senate voted 18-17 against the ruling...Senators Altamirano, Michael Sanchez, Bernadette Sanchez and John Grubesic —all of whom voted to adjourn last Tuesday—changed today, voting to stay. The fate of the special session is up in the air. House Speaker Ben Lujan said Friday that the House would come back Sunday or Monday." He reported.

Legislative observers say the best way to get out of this mess is to have the Senate take quick up or down votes on the Governor's agenda and then adjourn. But resentment and anger between the Fourth Floor and some rebellious Senate Democrats now appear to be getting in the way of rationality. More as it develops....
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