2013 legislative session running smoothly
Posted at: 02/14/2013 4:30 PM
| Updated at: 02/14/2013 6:25 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
With the state legislature nearly halfway through its sixty-day session, people at the Roundhouse are talking about how smoothly things are going, how there seems to be less friction between the Republican Governor and the Democratic-controlled House and Senate, and how you hear the word 'compromise' in every hallway and every committee room.
Some wily old politician somewhere once said the way you can tell if you have a real compromise is if nobody's happy - that's because they're all giving something up.
From the beginning of the session on Jan. 15, Gov. Susana Martinez has been talking about the need to compromise and break through the gridlock and Democratic leaders are spouting the same rhetoric.
Bottom line: All sides already see the popularity of the so-called "do nothing" U.S. Congress at rock bottom. Nobody wants to see that at the state government level, and nobody wants to take the blame for it.
"Every single day, hour after hour we're meeting with them," Martinez said about this session's relations with lawmakers. "We're talking about how we can move things along. It's been a very smooth session and we're even getting together on bills that we think can move quicker."
"It's good to talk about compromise," said Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino - an Albuquerque Democrat. "It's great to have feel-good sessions.But when the rubber hits the road, if there's not any genuine movement away from entrenched positions, we don't really have compromise. We have rhetoric about compromise."
The Senator gives Martinez credit for agreeing to expand Medicaid and agreeing to set up a health insurance exchange under Obamacare - things other Republican governors in other states have refused to do.
Some other notable compromises are in the works - drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, the film/television subsidy, education reform.
KOB Eyewitness News 4 is tracking those bills as they move through each chamber to see if they work out or collapse during the second half of the session.