The fact that the New Mexico State Legislature is controlled by Democrats should allow anyone to assume that it is a friendly
body for Governor Richardson. The NM Legislature is not friendly toward any governor, no matter what particular mix of political parties there may be.
And Bill Richardson is a very demanding governor, willing to use every power and trick at his disposal to see that his agenda is addressed and approved. When the NM Legislature adjourned the 2007 session without addressing several bills, Richardson called them back after only two days. That he called them back when he was traveling outside the state didn't sit well, and the NM Senate's first order of business was to adjourn. The NM House, however, did meet and passed
the following measures:
- A bill that gives domestic partnerships the same rights as married couples
- A $208 million highway bill
- An increase in domestic violence penalties
- A meth lab registry and cleanup procedures
All good stuff, really. GOP Representatives were understandably upset at both Richardson and the House leadership. I agree that this special session was probably equal parts Richardson trying to do what is good for New Mexico and what is good for his presidential aspirations - in fact, it may have more to do with the latter. But I'm certainly willing to allow some of that if it means that worthy legislation gets passed.
The New Mexico Senate is required by the state constitution to go back into session by Saturday if the House remains in session. Since the House has passed several bills that require the Senate's attention, as long as Speaker Lujan retains control over his Democrats, the House will remain in session long enough to bring the Senate back. At that point most of the anger at Richardson probably will have dissipated enough to allow them to work on the bills, and they will most likely pass.
This is great news for Richardson, because he is clearly running on his resume, both as a Clinton Administration official and as Governor of New Mexico.Update:
To quote from the latest Richardson campaign email, "[l]ately the media has been more fixated on the rock-star potential of candidates than their resumes." That's very true. However, it's not the kind of strategy that will convince the excited throngs turning out for Obama that they should switch their support to Richardson.