Proposed 2019 NM Legislation: Joint Resolution Legislature Reform


Bill Summary: 
This House or Senate Joint Resolution proposes to amend Article 4 of the New Mexico Constitution to change increase the Time and Length of Sessions; Items Considered in Even-Numbered Years, to Pay state legislators a salary limited to the median household income in New Mexico for the most recent calendar year, and the creation of a legislative support staff budget. 

Passed Legislation Calendar Effective Dates: July 1st and November 1st

If approved by voters, the provisions of this legislation would be applicable on January 1, 2020. 

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS 
According the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income for New Mexico in 2015 was $41 thousand dollars. The cost of providing all 112 state legislators an annual salary of $41 thousand is $4.6 million. Because the legislation would become effective January 1, 2019, the state would be required to pay legislators salary totaling $2.3 million for the last 6 months of fiscal year 2019. Additionally, the Secretary Of State estimates the cost of putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot to be $104 thousand based on 2010 actual expenditures. 

SIGNIFICANT ISSUES 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Mexico is the only state that does not provide state legislators with a base salary. (http://www.ncsl.org/research/about-statelegislatures/2015-state-legislator-compensation.aspx) 

Following approval of this constitutional amendment, legislator salaries would need to be appropriated through House/Senate Bill. 



A JOINT RESOLUTION
PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE 4, SECTION 5 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF NEW MEXICO LENGTH OF SESSIONS; ITEMS CONSIDERED IN EVEN-NUMBERED YEARS AND SECTION 10 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF NEW MEXICO TO PAY STATE LEGISLATORS AN ANNUAL SALARY IN AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME IN NEW MEXICO FOR THE MOST RECENT CALENDAR YEAR.



BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:

SECTION 1. It is proposed to amend Article 4, Section 5 [Time and Length of Sessions; Items Considered in Even-Numbered Years] of the constitution of New Mexico to read:

A. Each regular session of the legislature shall begin annually at 12:00 noon on the third Tuesday of January. Each regular session of the legislature shall end annually at 12:00 noon on the third Tuesday of September. Every regular session of the legislature convening during an odd-numbered year shall remain in session not to exceed sixty days one hundred and twenty days (120 days), and every regular session of the legislature convening during an even-numbered year shall remain in session not to exceed thirty days ninety days (90 days). No special session of the legislature shall exceed thirty days.

B. Every regular session of the legislature convening during an even-numbered year shall consider only the following:

(1) budgets, appropriations and revenue bills;
(2) public peace, health, education, safety and welfare bills;
(3) bills drawn pursuant to special messages of the governor; and
(4) bills of the last previous regular session vetoed by the governor.

SECTION 2. It is proposed to amend Article 4, Section 10 of the constitution of New Mexico to read:
"Each member of the legislature shall receive:

A. per diem at the internal revenue service per diem rate for the city of Santa Fe for each day's attendance during each session of the legislature and the internal revenue service standard mileage rate for each mile traveled in going to and returning from the seat of government by the usual traveled route, once each session as defined by Article 4, Section 5 of this constitution;

B. per diem expense and mileage at the same rates as provided in Subsection A of this section for service at meetings required by legislative committees established by the legislature to meet in the interim between sessions; [and]

C. beginning on January 1, 2019, a salary in an amount equal to the median household income in New Mexico for the most recent calendar year as determined by the United States census bureau; and

D. beginning on January 1, 2019, a support staff budget created to provide for a support staff for each legislator; with two full-time positions, two part-time positions, options to provide two internships (one college/one high school), and use of volunteers.

E. no other compensation, perquisite or allowance."

SECTION 3. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the next general election or at any special election prior to that date that may be called for that purpose.



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(All Rights Reserved 04/20/2018)


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