HJR 5 & SJR 4 - Legislative Session Changes

Representative Figueroa & Senator Lopez

VMFC Supports - 267x400

Why VMFC supports
HJR 5 & SJR 4

Co-equal and longer sessions without subject constraints on legislation makes the legislature more efficient and effective. Important bills not heard or passed during odd-numbered years can now be brought back the next year, rather than waiting 2 years.

The ability to consider overriding an executive veto from the previous session each session improves the balance of power between the two branches of state government.

Any legislation that serves to modernize and make the NM legislature more effective increases the opportunity to make changes favorable to veterans and military families in New Mexico.

HJR 5 and SJR 4 are duplicates. They provide an opportunity for voters in New Mexico to decide on making our legislature more effective. Each proposes to amend the constitution to change the legislative sessions in even-numbered years to 60 days in length, adds consideration of all subjects for legislation each year, provides for overrides for bills vetoed by the governor each year.

The proposed constitutional amendment:

  • Makes each regular legislative session 60 days long, rather than the current 30-day session in even-numbered years and 60 days in odd-numbered years.  
  • The total length of the sessions over the biennium remains the same – 90 days.
  • Removes the subject constraint of bills to be considered in even-numbered years. Subjects are not limited to budgetary, appropriations, or revenue bills nor will they be dependent on special messages of the governor.
  • Allows legislators to consider for veto override bills of a previous regular, special, or extraordinary session within the same legislative biennium.

These changes would level the workload over the biennium, increase by 30 days the total number of session days in the biennium, allow legislators to continue working on important bills each year until passed without constraints on subject, and override executive vetoes each year on bills that the legislature considered important. 

New Mexico’s 30-day and 60-day sessions are among the shortest and most restrictive in the U.S. Our state’s budget increases each year – 68% over the past 5 years – yet our legislators have the same limited amount of time as they did decades ago. They need more time to research, draft, discuss, amend, and vote on legislation, and to be good stewards of our financial resources.

This is a first step to modernize our legislature and give legislators more time to tackle issues and improve the lives of New Mexicans. Each session will be a Peoples’ Session.

Dorothy Seaton
Chair, Committee for Veterans Advocacy
Phone: 512-618-3600
email: ds8447@gmail.com

Claudia Risner
Chair, VMFC
Phone: 505-357-5334
email: chair@nmvetscaucus.org

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