State lawmaker calling for special legislative session

Created: 05/08/2014 6:20 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A leading state lawmaker is calling for a special legislative session, but the governor calls it a “stunt”.

It’s all about the economy, the drought, the schools, mental health, and the state’s ongoing campaign to get Tesla Motors to locate its huge new battery factory in New Mexico. That’s why Sen. Tim Keller, an Albuquerque Democrat, says the legislature needs to meet this summer, even though that would disrupt political campaigns, including his own run for state auditor.

“We actually sort of have to put up or shut up if we go into special session,” Keller said Thursday.  He is second-in-command on the Senate floor for the majority Democrats. “Tesla is really driving this. When we had Intel come to us in the Eighties, we all came together and had a special session and made it happen and I think we’ve got to do the same thing here.”

Gov. Martinez issued a statement Thursday afternoon, calling Keller’s suggestion a “$50,000-a-day political stunt to, in part, backpedal away from his recent statements opposing efforts to attract Tesla and its jobs to New Mexico.”

Keller did write, in an Albuquerque Journal op-ed piece, that state leaders should avoid promising Tesla too much in the way of big tax breaks, but he also wrote that he welcomes the electric car company and the 6,500 new jobs it would create.

So will there be a special session? Other lawmakers say no – not unless there is an absolute dealmaker to get Tesla here. 

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