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Redistricting attorneys OK'd for Legislature

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By Barry Massey

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A team of private lawyers will defend the Democratic-controlled Legislature in a court fight over redistricting, state legislative leaders decided Monday despite objections from Republicans.

The Legislative Council voted along party lines to authorize the lawyers. They will represent the Legislature in lawsuits over plans for new boundaries of districts for Congress, the state House of Representatives, the state Senate and Public Regulation Commission.

Senate GOP Leader Stuart Ingle, of Portales, said in an interview that separate lawyers should have been authorized for Republicans as well as Democrats, who hold majorities in the House and Senate, because redistricting decisions were largely divided along party lines during the special session.

"If one side is going to get lawyers paid for, the other side should get it too," said Ingle.

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings, D-Rowell, said both political parties will have an opportunity to voice their views during the lawsuits. Groups of Democrats and Republicans, including the No. 2 House GOP leader, are among those who have brought lawsuits so far.


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