Updated: June 19, 2020 10:30 PM
Created: June 19, 2020 09:58 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Lawmakers are trying to address several important issues during the special session:
Filling the budget shortfall
Multiple bills pass both chambers Friday to fill the $2 billion budget shortfall.
There are plans to make cuts to state agencies, road projects and teacher raises.
Cuts would not be made to education spending, health care and other state services.
Democrats, who are in the majority, are satisfied with the plan.
"I think this is a very responsible budget that recognizes the very difficult situation we're in but fights for New Mexicans, fights for this framework for recovery that we all need, wherever we live in New Mexico," said Rep. Nathan Small.
Republicans do not believe the cuts go far enough.
They want to reverse spending increase that were put into place over the last two years.
Republicans think more cuts will just need to be made during the regular session in 2021.
"The ironic thing about this budget is no one is pretending it's a fix," said Rep. Rebecca Dow. "This temporarily lessens the pain, and in January we know that's where there will be absolutely brutal cuts. Republicans and Democrats agree on that."
Small Business Relief
A bill passed the state Senate Friday that could help small businesses.
The bill would lessen the unemployment tax burden.
Typically, businesses would be forced to pay higher taxes as the unemployment rate rises.
Democrats and Republicans are optimistic the measure will pass.
"It's not their fault that it's broke. It's not their fault that they're closed," Dow said. "It's not their fault that their employees are not working right now."
Body Cameras for Law Enforcement
The state Senate voted 31-11 to require law enforcement agencies to utilize body cameras.
The bill will head to the House.
Lawmakers hope to wrap up the special session by Saturday night.
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