New Mexico state senators file suit against Gov. Lujan Grisham’s federal funds spending

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ALBUQUERQUE, N/M/ – Democratic state senator Jacob Candelaria and Republican state senator Greg Baca filed suit against Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s spending of federal American Recovery Plan Act funds.

The senators are petitioning the New Mexico Supreme Court to halt the governor’s spending, alleging it is unconstitutional without legislative authorization.

New Mexico has received $1.75 billion in ARPA funds for pandemic relief. The suit alleges Gov. Lujan Grisham ‘unlawfully appropriated’ over $600 million in ARPA funds but does not request those funds be returned.

The suit also cites Article IV, Section 30 of the New Mexico Constitution which states, "except interest or other payments on public debt, money shall be paid out of the treasury only upon appropriations made by the legislature." The suit also cites a state law dictating general fund expenditures “shall be made only in accordance with appropriations authorized by the Legislature."

The New Mexico Legislature voted to deposit New Mexico’s share of ARPA funds into a contingency fund. The Governor vetoed the move, stating the Legislature lacked the authority to direct her administration of federal funds.