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Lawmakers plug on despite hot times in the Roundhouse

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By Sherry Robinson

Legislative sessions often leave the tracks during the final days, but last week was weird even by those standards.
There was the usual House snipping that the Senate isn’t hearing their bills and more than the usual strain between parties. Rumors of retaliation floated in the stale air. Personal slights or bad behavior provoked demands for apologies.
Tensions escalated until a University of New Mexico regent’s confirmation exploded in mid-air. When a long-serving senator resigned abruptly a day later, it was almost anti-climactic.
Through it all, they kept working. The process pauses but doesn’t stop. All that blather in bloggerdom about the “do-nothing legislature” just ain’t so.
The regent showdown had been brewing for days.
The governor nominated former District Attorney Matthew Chandler as UNM regent. The Senate Rules Committee approved the nomination, then asked that its record be expunged and hauled Chandler back in.
If lots of raised eyebrows had a sound, we could have heard a whoosh.
The three-way face-off among Chandler, Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto (all lawyers) shocked even veteran political reporters. Gone were the accustomed niceties observed in the Legislature, replaced by accusations flung back and forth.


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