New Mexico’s electoral votes would go to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote even if New Mexico voted for another candidate if a bill that passed the House Friday
The House voted 41-27 in favor of House Bill 383, sponsored by Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque. It was a largely party-line vote, with all Republicans present and two Democrats voting against it. The bill goes on to the Senate.
If the bill passes the Legislature and is signed into law by Gov. Bill Richardson, the state would join an interstate compact that only would take effect after states with electoral votes totaling more than half the national total had joined the compact — 270 of 538. This would guarantee that whoever won the popular vote nationally would win the election.
So far only four other states, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland and Hawaii — have joined the interstate compact. Those four states have 50 electoral votes among them.
Republicans argued that the current winner-take-all system for electoral votes has been good for New Mexico. In the last three presidential race, this state has been one of a handful of battleground states in which most of the candidates have spent the most time and money. If this bill becomes a reality, the current battleground states — which include large and small states scattered around the country — would be replaced by a new set of battleground states, which only would be state’s with the biggest populations.
Stewart argued that even if there were fewer candidate visits in the state, people care more about ensuring that the presidential candidate who won the most votes was elected to the office. In 2001 Republican George W. Bush lost the popular vote but he won a majority of the electoral college.
Que viva el Espanol
A measure introduced in the Senate would re-establish the job of the state supervisor of Spanish.
The bill (SJM60) aims to preserve the Spanish language in New Mexico.
“New Mexicans’ Spanish-speaking ancestors went through a lot to obtain statehood for New Mexico because they wanted to secure the State’s Spanish language,” said Sen. Gerald P. Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, the bill’s sponsor.
“Statehood was proposed for both California and New Mexico in 1850, but California had many more English-speaking citizens than Spanish-speaking citizens by then, so New Mexico fell by the wayside. And as time went by, it failed to achieve statehood over and over again because the majority of the population was Spanish-speaking,” he said in a statement.
The state years ago had the position, Ortiz y Pino said.
Wild pigs aren’t welcome in New Mexico, and people could face up to $1,000 in fines if they try to bring them into the state under a bill now on its way to the Senate.
HB594, which would prohibit transporting, breeding or selling feral hogs, passed the House on Thursday with no opposition.
New Mexicans could still catch a wild pig to make it a pet, or for food, if the bill passes.
The measure was introduced because of a proliferation of feral pigs, which can spread disease to wildlife and destroy their habitats.
The House and Senate will hold floor sessions today. Visit www.nmlegis.gov for an agenda.
• A trio of bills that supporters say would protect workers form wage theft and ban bias-based policing are scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee Monday at 1:30 in room 309.
The immigrant-rights advocacy group Somos Un Pueblo Unido is asking supporters to attend the hearing on HB 489, HB 428, and HB 493.
• A bill (HB552) by House Speaker Ben Lujan that would create infrastructure development zones with the power of eminent domain and to issue bonds wasn’t heard Friday by the House Taxation and Revenue Committee. Check the House committees calendar of the Legislature’s Web site for updating hearing information.