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Sen. Cisneros: No ulterior motive behind governors veto

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By Carol A. Clark

 

While accusations fly as to why Gov. Bill Richardson vetoed $7 million from this year’s capital outlay package, Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Los Alamos, remains positive.“I don’t think it’s retaliatory, and to say the governor did this maliciously would be immature and uncalled for,” Cisneros said during an interview Friday. “He wouldn’t be punishing the legislators, he’d be punishing the people.”One of the bills vetoed was Senate Bill 471, sponsored by Cisneros, which included $25,000 in funding for the White Rock Fire Station. “He took from me SB471 and while it’s not a lot of money, it meant a lot to the firefighters,” Cisneros said.Wednesday’s vetoes follow a seemingly contentious relationship that worsened between Senate members and Richardson as the 30-day session closed Feb. 14 without a universal health care initiative.During his post-session press conference, an angry Richardson blamed, “…a handful of senators, including certain members of the Senate leadership and the Senate Finance Committee, (who) were more focused on power, turf and personal agendas. There was no desire, no political will by certain members to do anything substantive about the health care crisis.”Richardson vowed to call them back for a loathed special session.House Speaker Ben Lujan D-Santa Fe, said at the time that the governor “had better do some spadework before summoning lawmakers back to the Capitol.”“It would not be fruitful for ... the governor to call a special session if we haven’t come to any terms of agreement. I hope that doesn’t happen,” Lujan said.Richardson has since indicated the special legislative session will probably not take place until this summer.Last week, the governor met with both Democratic and Republican Senate leaders who agreed to form working groups to resume health care talks well ahead of the upcoming special session.The veto message signed by the governor didn’t specifically state his reasoning, Cisneros said.“The veto message just said we need to improve the way fund capital outlay,” he said.Cisneros recalled in previous years, “out of respect” Richardson would go to individual legislators and let them know they needed to cut back their funding requests by a certain percent. “This year it was an unusual way for him to just veto projects without talking with us about it first. It’s difficult to determine the rationale other than, ‘I’m the governor and I have the right to do so’.”“It’s always unfortunate when the governor chooses to veto any legislation - particularly capital outlay,” Cisneros said. “We work hard for the people we represent and it’s unfortunate when the governor decides to exercise his vote. We’ll just have to try again next year.”