Thursday was an eventful day at the Roundhouse, with Democrats in both chambers working hard to ram through legislative maps and a billion-dollar spending bill.
After 10:00 p.m., the state Senate rammed through an updated gerrymandered state Senate map that implements extreme partisanship to winnow away Republicans’ hopes of holding onto critical seats in the chamber. The move came the same day the Senate Rules Committee speedily passed the maps on a vote of 6-4.
After Republicans stalled the vote, Democrats got their wish and passed the extreme partisan bill on a vote of 25-13. The maps implement strange shapes and extreme deviations in population in the name of supposed “representation” for sovereign Tribal nations that exist within New Mexico.
Sen. Jacob Candelaria (DTS-Bernalillo), claimed he’s considering a legal challenge to the allegedly racist new state Senate maps that are “about the dilution of Hispanic voices.”
“Everyone here should expect litigation over these maps and others, because at the end of the day, while these maps may pass and these maps may have been a product of a lot of backroom dealing, it doesn’t mean they’re right,” Candelaria said during the floor debate, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. “It doesn’t mean they’re legal. It doesn’t mean they’re fair.”
During his debate on the Senate floor, he made strong points about who is truly behind the Democrats’ gerrymandered bill — dark money political organizations:
Between Central and Paseo Del Norte, the Hispanic community is broken up into eight different districts. Why? To give other predominantly Anglo districts more population of ‘safe Democratic votes.’ Mr. President, again, I will not accept this debate tonight that says that this map or whatever version of the map we had is the ‘people’s map.’ That’s a great quote for a dark money political organization to use. It’s a great one. But until you tell me who the people are that funded you, you’re not my people. – Sen. Jacob Candelaria (DTS-Bernalillo)
The new maps now move over to the state House, where they are expected to be pushed through committee and a final floor vote on Friday. There is not a committee time set up for its hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, but it is subject to the “call of the chair,” per the committee schedule.
On the House side, lawmakers held a concurrence vote on a billion-dollar spending bill, using federal pandemic funds to fund leftist initiatives such as $3.5 million to plug oil wells, $10 million for electric vehicle charging stations, $10 million for highway “beautification” efforts, among some moderately positive things like a hospital in Valencia County, although most expenditures in the mammoth bill had nothing to do with the pandemic or the subsequent recovery.
It passed by a voice vote after little debate despite its extreme expenditures and the latest draft cutting $26 million for broadband access across the state. It now goes to scandal-ridden alleged serial groper Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk for a signature.