The bill, which is usually passed every session, died because of partisan disagreements that characterized most of this session.
On Friday the House Ways and Means Committee voted to cut $45 million in funding for community colleges, senior centers and pueblos across the state to put toward highway funding. These changes to the Senate-approved bill were debated until the final minutes of the session.
“Unfortunately, this session ended in the same fashion it was operated from day one,” Gov. Susana Martinez said during a press conference. “Senate Democrats chose to obstruct, to delay, chose gridlock, chose partisanship, and they chose not to compromise.”
When it left the Senate the bill included about $9 million for UNM projects, including $5.3 million for the Health Education building, $1.2 million for the Physics and Astronomy department and $1 million for engineering facilities.
Lawmakers accused one another of partisanship throughout this session, largely due to a divided government with a Democrat-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Republican governor.
“Do we have a do-nothing state legislature? Will that be specific to this session, or will this be the norm throughout Gov. Martinez’s second term in office?” Gabriel Sanchez, an associate professor of political science, said in an interview with the Associated Press. “The answer to this question will depend on whether the Republicans and the Republican governor improve their ability to pass legislation from a majority standpoint, and whether the Democrats become more effective at playing defense and blocking legislation from moving through the Legislature.”
This is the first time since 2011 that lawmakers have not approved a capital outlay bill.
Martinez said she does not have plans to call lawmakers back for a special legislative session to pass the bill.
Marielle Dent is a staff reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Marielle_Dent.