On Friday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a slew of vetoes, 17 in fact, of bills she did not support for various reasons. Among them was a bipartisan bill from Sen. George Muñoz (D-Cibola, McKinley, and San Juan) and Stewart Ingle (R-Chaves, Curry, De Baca, Lea, and Roosevelt) merely meant to “implement new basic and inservice training requirements for law enforcement officers,” according to the bill’s fiscal impact report.
The bill, S.B. 375, passed both the Senate and the House unanimously, however, the Governor claimed the bill would “weaken” civilian oversight of the Law Enforcement Academy Board. “Eliminating these members would insulate the board from any civilian oversight, a necessary accountability measure,” Lujan Grisham said in a message to legislators.
“Supporters of a proposal to revise law enforcement training in New Mexico objected strongly Friday to one of the vetoes. The measure, Senate Bill 375, would have required annual training in de-escalation techniques, crisis intervention and responding to people in a mental health crisis, among other changes,” reports the Albuquerque Journal.
“We thought we were doing something there to make sure our police had extra training,” Sen. Ingle said Friday.
Rep. Stefani Lord, a staunch supporter of Law Enforcement while serving in the House, wrote on Facebook, “Lujan vetoed a bill that had bipartisan support that offered training for Law Enforcement. Just another way to defund the police and deny them critical training to benefit our communities.”
Another proposal on Gov. Lujan Grisham’s chopping block was H.B. 240, sponsored by Sens. Joshua Sanchez (R-Cibola, Socorro, McKinley) and Greg Baca (R-Bernalillo and Valencia), another unanimous measure, which would have allowed certain property tax revenue in Valencia County to bring a 24-hour emergency health care facility to the area.
The Governor objected to the use of mill levy funds for the project, claiming the bill was usurping authority away from the will of the voters. She wrote, “While health care facilities are needed in our state, the funds described in HB 240 were part of a property tax previously approved by Valencia County voters with the understanding that the funds would be used for specific projects. To now use the mill levy funding for a purpose that was not presented during the election would abuse our democratic process and render the community’s decision as irrelevant. The voters’ decision about the use of mill levy funds must be respected.”
The bill’s sponsors had a different tune, with Sen. Sanchez writing, “This was a nonpolitical bill that would have simply removed the final roadblock for rural, south central New Mexico to acquire a hospital.” He added, “The legislation was so sensible that it transcended the hyperpartisan session and went to the Governor’s desk with unanimous, bipartisan support. The Governor, however, is so out of touch with New Mexico that she is willing to ignore the decades-long plea for quality healthcare in Valencia County. This is a sad day for our county and our state.”
“This was not just a piece of legislation – it was a lifeline for a community in need,” said Sen. Baca. “Our community has been working on this for almost 15 years and we hoped this was the year the Governor would look beyond the city and see the needs of her rural constituents. Instead, in vetoing this good faith bill, she has turned her back on Valencia County and certified her legacy as one of the most partisan and vindictive governors to ever ‘lead’ New Mexico. As for our local citizens, they will sadly spend another year wondering if their lives depend on how fast they can drive to Albuquerque.”
Many of the bills the Governor vetoed just so happened to be sponsored by Republicans or have a Republican co-sponsor. She also signed the Democrats’ bloated $7.4 billion budget and vetoed $1 billion in earmarked federal funds.