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Other than spending money, much of the work of our Legislature involves creating new rules or tinkering, changing this or that little thing.
For example, the penalty for leaving a pasture gate open, potentially allowing livestock to escape, used to be $5 to $10. Now the fine ranges from $250 to $1,000, thanks to House Bill 391, one of two animal and livestock bills to pass the 2011 session of Legislature and survive Gov. Susana Martinez’s veto pen.
The new gate non-closure fine is mentioned in the Highlights report issued last month by the Legislative Council Service. The report emphasizes policy changes.
You can find the report at http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/sessionpub.aspx. If you wish to avoid downloading the 145 pages, call the Council Service library (505-986-4600) for a printed copy. Teachers might consider building a class or a study unit around the report. My previous column nudged at the issues of what government should do and what it ought to do. The report shows some of what state government does do. A few items follow.
The Legislature passed 284 bills this year, the fewest for a 60-day session in 25 years. Martinez vetoed 98 bills, just over a third. There were 1,200 bills introduced.
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