SANTA FE, N.M. — Ten vetoes by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez have been invalidated by a state district judge because the governor missed deadlines or failed to explain her reasoning, allowing the piecemeal legislation on economic development, high school curricula and hemp production to take effect Thursday.
Judge Sarah Singleton denied a request from the governor to delay implementation of the bills after siding earlier in the month with members of the Democratic-led Legislature.
Singleton noted that Martinez failed to meet a veto requirement that helps lawmakers respond to the governor’s concerns, along with a three-day deadline designed to keep the Legislature operating efficiently.
“Explanations are important,” said Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque. “We as a Legislature need to know how we could go about drafting and passing a bill that the governor would sign. … The governor’s veto power is not absolute.”
A spokesman for the governor said an appeal is planned.
“There is no question the governor vetoed these bills,” spokesman Michael Lonergan said. “We hope the courts will recognize that there are still three branches of government.”
The newly enacted laws were designed to expand access to high-speed internet, open the way for industrial hemp research programs, and allow high school students to count computer science classes toward core math credits needed for graduation, among other measures.
The legal clash over the vetoes extended through a drawn-out feud this year between Martinez and legislative leaders over how to address a state budget crisis. A compromise was reached during a special legislative session in May.
Amid the budget wrangling, lawmakers unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn vetoes that threatened to defund all state colleges and the Legislature itself.
On Thursday, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver took the final procedural steps to enact the 10 disputed laws.