At the beginning of a 30-day legislative session, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is trying to reduce violent crime, increase access to affordable housing, and tackle climate change and drought.
At the beginning of a session that allocates spending for the new fiscal year, Lujan intends to dip into the surplus in the multi-billion dollar general fund. The second-term Democratic governor is slated to discuss this in her State of the State address on Tuesday.
In the fiscal year beginning July 1, the state anticipates record-breaking revenue of $13 billion, surpassing yearly expenditure commitments by approximately one-third.
In light of the impending decline in revenue from oil and natural gas extraction, prominent Democrats in Congress have called for a 5.9% reduction in yearly general fund expenditure, amounting to $10.1 billion. They plan to reduce the amount of money borrowed for building projects and increase savings and endowments so that vital government programs may continue.
Lujan Grisham proposes a more significant yearly expenditure rise of over 10%. Among her newly proposed expenditures are a $250 million program to provide down payment assistance and a $40 million initiative to combat homelessness across the state.
To combat gun violence, panhandling, retail crime, and hazing, Lujan Grisham laid forth a comprehensive set of public safety measures on Friday. The minimum age to buy semiautomatic rifles and shotguns would be raised to 21, the minimum wait time for background checks would be lengthened, and features on assault-style firearms that make them more lethal would be restricted.
The minority Republican-led legislature is wary of any measures that could limit Second Amendment rights, but it backs reforms to the state’s pretrial detention system that would allow judges more discretion to hold certain defendants until trial.
In 2017, New Mexico reformed its system to do away with money bail and guarantee that dangerous persons might be detained until their trials.
In response to worries about global warming and fossil fuels, Lujan Grisham has proposed that the state provide financial incentives to purchase electric cars. Using treated water from the salty waste products of oil and natural gas drilling as a new industrial water supply is another concept that would be financed.
On November 6, voters will have the chance to choose their next lawmaker.