Special Session begins strangely

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By Carol A. Clark

SANTA FE — The second session of the 48th Legislature called by Gov. Bill Richardson convened about 12:30 p.m. Friday and recessed a short time later. Democratic Legislators left the floor to caucus and the House reconvened later in the day.

“We caucused in the morning,” said Republican Rep. Jeannette Wallace, Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Sandoval counties, “so we sat around and waited for them to finish. We’re not moving very fast, we didn’t start at noon, there were no proclamations and no bills – it was a strange beginning.”

The agenda Richardson wants lawmakers to tackle in this special session includes health care expansion, tax rebates, road construction funding, funding for the secretary of state to operate this year’s general election and disaster money for flood ravaged Ruidoso.

The governor is asking the Legislature to spend more than $400 million to provide tax breaks and other economic assistance to New Mexicans, pay for highway construction and expand health care coverage for children.

About $171 million of the governor’s proposals, including a tax rebate and some highway financing, would be covered by a projected $208 million revenue windfall during the current budget year.

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