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Final day of flurry

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — Noon today marks the beginning of the final day of the New Mexico Legislature’s 2013 regular session. New Mexico’s legislatures begin and end at noon.
Legislative days also begin and end at noon but that timing is more flexible.
But noon tomorrow is not flexible. Until the 1960s, lawmakers were allowed to “stop the clock” and allow time well past noon to get business finished. But the state supreme court ruled that our constitution says nothing about clock stopping and that any bills passed after noon are invalid.
There is no law specifying the end of the 20-day period the governor has to sign or veto legislation.
So governors play it safe and get all their bill signing done before noon of the 20th day. It doesn’t matter when he vetoes bills because they don’t go into effect anyway.
Some governors don’t even bother vetoing bills they don’t like. Those are called pocket vetoes and don’t carry any explanation about why the governor doesn’t like the bill.
As of the beginning of this week, lawmakers had only gotten 10 bills through both chambers and up to the governor.
One of those bills benefitted the spaceport by limiting the liability of suppliers of parts of space crafts.


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