Category Archives: 2015 Legislative Session

The Line: June 12, 2015

This week, the line opinion panelists discuss the winners and losers in special legislative session. Lawmakers approved a bill to fund capital outlay projects, which had previously stalled in the regular session.

The panelists discuss the response of Attorney General Hector Balderas to the case of Andrew Romero, who is accused of killing Rio Rancho police officer Gregg Benner. They also talk about the financial future of the Rail Runner Express and continued questions about a contract between TASER International and the city of Albuquerque.

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LINE PANELISTS:
Russell Contreras, AP Reporter
Dede Feldman, former New Mexico State Senator
Dan Foley, former New Mexico House Minority Whip
Tom Garrity, the Garrity Group PR

Capital outlay bill covers all the New Mexico bases

Image Credit: Mr TinDC

By Sandra Fish
New Mexico In Depth

From football field bleachers to police cars, road projects to seniors, the $295 million capital outlay project bill approved by New Mexico lawmakers Monday appears to have something for everyone.

That includes House and Senate members who met in a special session to iron out their differences and Gov. Susana Martinez, who called the special session after lengthy negotiations.

There’s more than $45 million for road projects, half from bonded funds and half from the general fund. Where that money came from was among the biggest sticking points when lawmakers failed to agree on the capital projects bill during the regular session.

Funding for courts, aging services and cultural services are restored to near Senate levels after House cuts during the regular session. And many House cuts for higher education projects are restored.
There’s $8 million for road improvements at the Santa Teresa port of entry in Doña Ana County, and $4.5 million to replace a bridge and improve a road in Gallup. Those are projects the House included during the regular session, apparently at the request of Martinez.

There’s $10 million for Local Economic Development Act projects, down from the $12.5 million in the House amendment during the regular 2015 session.

And the $4 million the House amendment had for an airfield hangar at the Spaceport is absent in the special session capital bill.

There are plenty of projects advocated by lawmakers, too, who divvied up a portion of the money to be bonded against severance tax revenue to for local requests.

Among those projects:

• $550,000 for bleachers in Melrose public schools, $100,000 for football field bleachers at Valencia High School and $20,000 for bleachers and other work at Hoover Middle School in Albuquerque.
• $1,000 for a Questa Veterans Memorial. Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, originally requested $1 million to plan and build a memorial.
• Money for police vehicles in Rio Rancho, Valencia County, Tularosa and Corrales.
• $6,200 for bicycle tools and equipment for a community bicycle recycling program Albuquerque, requested by Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque.
• $50,000 for arts classrooms in Cleveland Middle School in Albuquerque, requested by House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque.
• $21,400 for a veteran’s memorial in Moriarty, requested by Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Sandia Park.

Those are just a few of more than 1,000 items in the capital outlay bill. New Mexico In Depth has a searchable list here.

And here’s a look at funding by county in the bill, where, logically, the largest counties are receiving the most money.