April 10, 2015

Gov. Martinez vetoed science – and 5 other unbelievable vetoes from this year’s legislative session

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It’s official.  As of today, if the governor didn’t sign a bill it dies.  And some didn’t even get the dignity of a quiet death.  Some she killed right out in public.

From the budget to booze to books on science, we tracked down some of the biggest and most unbelievable vetoes from Susana Martinez in 2015.

State Rep. Matthew McQueen weighed in as the vetoes rolled out:

And State Senator Cisco McSorley had this to say about her veto of his bill to open up a new industrial hemp industry for New Mexico farmers.

“I think she thinks she’s settling some sort of political score and that this satisfies her anger,” McSorley said. “This is her inability to put aside her anger and deal with the needs of the people of New Mexico.”

That bill was supported by her own Agriculture Department, but even that wasn’t enough to move the governor.

Some say McSorley’s analysis could apply to more than just his bill.  Here are a few of the governor’s most controversial – some say anti-New Mexican – vetoes:

Martinez Veto

Governor Martinez vetoed science.

Seriously. Right there on page 158 of the state’s budget:

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Yes, technically it is $65,000 for science, technology engineering and math programs administered by the Agriculture Department, but she kept every other appropriation in that section, including some help for minority student programs in those area. Just not for every student.

It’s not like New Mexico needs kids with those skills to graduate or anything.


Martinez Veto

#VaccineDenier ?

The budget isn’t just about money.  It also contains goals for state agencies to improve the lives of New Mexicans through their spending of our tax dollars.  One thing we won’t have to worry about is the government tracking down all those vaccine deniers. She vetoed a provision to incentivize the state’s health department to vaccine children:

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That science thing and the vaccine thing go hand-in-hand.  But don’t take our word for it:

Vaccines and the Republican War on Science | Science Blogs


 Martinez Veto

Party Pooper.

Here’s what you need to know:

Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a Senate bill that would have allowed for home deliveries of beer and wine.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, would have allowed deliveries of two six packs of beer and two bottles of wine with certain food orders.

In an executive message announcing the veto, Martinez raised concerns that the bill would facilitate dangerous drinking by minors by allowing large quantities of beer and wine to be delivered with food orders.  – Read more at The New Mexico Political Report

That veto message already has some raising an eyebrow since Martinez is well known to enjoy a few drinks with and after dinner. She, of course, has an armed State Police detail to drive her to/from the restaurant and liquor store.


Martinez Veto

 It takes half the water and makes twice the money, but farmers can’t grow it thanks to Susana Martinez.

Gov. Martinez vetoed a bill to open industrial hemp production for New Mexico farmers.  The non-THC form of hemp makes great clothes, rope and lots of other useful widgets, but don’t dig out your knitting needles, yet. That’s too bad since the industry promised a heap of new jobs AND can be grown with almost no water, something New Mexico farmers were happy to hear.

The cotton plant needs about 50 percent more water per season than hemp, which can grow with little irrigation. (It’s so prolific that the overwhelming majority (PDF) of cannabis plants uprooted by the Drug Enforcement Administration every year are a wild relative of hemp. It’s no coincidence they call the stuff weed.) – from Slate.com


Martinez Veto

Solar energy is supposed to be free, but this veto just made it a lot more expensive.

Just like Governor Martinez didn’t see much need for a new crop that grows like weeds (yea, bad pun), she also didn’t see much need for energy that comes from the sun in a state with 310 days of sunshine a year. We turned to Conservation Voters for their take:

FollowTheMoney.org has tracked at least $1.6 million given directly to Susana Martinez’s two campaigns for governor from Oil & Gas companies who make no secret about their dislike of the renewable and non-polluting solar industry.


Martinez Veto

How do you veto transparency? Like this!

OH!  And “the most transparent administration in New Mexico history” (she actually said that when she was running for governor) vetoed a truckload of provisions requiring the Executive Branch to tell taxpayers how she is spending their money and what results they achieved in areas like improving education, ending poverty and providing health care services to the sick.

Here’s one example where Gov. Martinez vetoed a requirement that her Higher Ed Department tell legislators how they fixed financial irregularity reporting, and how they will track taxpayer dollars in the state’s Lottery Scholarship Program to ensure it goes to students who need an education:

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And that’s not the only pesky audit she vetoed.  Here’s another that was supposed to ensure the Public Education Department actually spent special education money on providing education for special education students.

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In most states, that’s not a problem.  But the governor’s Public Ed. Dept. ‘forgot’ to spend almost $100,000,000 on special education students over the past few years.  Now we have to pay those dollars back, but apparently the governor isn’t interseted in sharing her plan to have that done and be sure that doesn’t happen again.

And this:

New Mexico’s checkbooks don’t balance. Like $100 million don’t balance. This was supposed to help fix that so money doesn’t leak out of the system. That won’t happen now and we still have no idea where all that money goes:

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So why did she put a cloud over all of that good government sunshine?

She wrote to legislators that she vetoed things she thought imposed “detailed expenditure restrictions” and restricted “vendors” they could use.  In other words, they didn’t want to tell the legislature whether they actually spent money as it was allocated. And that line about vendors?  Remember that the Martinez administration set up a secret email system that they used to coordinate state contracts and “naked babe weekends” with lawyers and lobbyists for state vendors.


What is the worst veto?  Is it the one that cost the most jobs in the state with the slowest job recovery?  or the one that prevents taxpayers from knowing how their money is spent?  Maybe you have your own favorite?

Weigh in and add your comments on the Facebook post that’s already hopping.

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