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SANTA FE (AP) — A plateful of problems, including a weak economy and struggling schools, awaits New Mexico’s lawmakers when they return to work for an election-year legislative session.
The Legislature’s 30-day session convenes Tuesday against a potentially divisive political backdrop.
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is seeking re-election, and two of her Democratic challengers serve in the Senate. All 70 members of the House are up for election, and the Democratic majority has narrowed to 37-33 because the governor appointed a Republican late last year to fill a vacant seat that had been held by a Democrat. Senators don’t run for election until 2016.
The legislative session by law is limited to the budget, taxes and measures the governor places on the agenda, which will include another attempt by Martinez to stop the state from issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally.
Lawmakers also can consider constitutional amendments. Proposals to legalize marijuana and ban gay marriage are expected, but those will face strong opposition. Constitutional amendments go to voters if approved by lawmakers. The governor can’t veto a proposed change in the state constitution, providing lawmakers a way to get around Martinez on thorny issues.
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