By Andrew Oxford
The New Mexican
Most members of the Senate Rules Committee trickled out of a hearing Monday, scuttling a vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to expand funding for early childhood education.
The lack of a quorum stalled House Joint Resolution 1 in the first of two committees it must clear before even reaching a vote of the full Senate before the legislative session ends at noon Saturday.
A couple Republicans were in the room when the Rules Committee took up the proposal. But all four Republicans on the committee either left the hearing or never entered it. Two Democrats also were absent, so only five of the committee's 11 members remained as the debate wound to a close. A majority of a committee's members must be present for it to act on legislation.
Without a quorum, the Rules Committee chairwoman, Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, adjourned the committee altogether.
"We're at a standstill," she told the remaining members, all Democrats.
One cosponsor accused the resolution's critics of leaving to avoid a vote rather than go on the record opposing the proposal.
"They know a vote against this is a bad vote," said Rep. Javier Martinez, D-Albuquerque.