Lawmakers make progress on state budget during first day of special session | KOB 4
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Lawmakers make progress on state budget during first day of special session

Kai Porter
Updated: June 18, 2020 10:16 PM
Created: June 18, 2020 09:27 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Lawmakers began working to rebalance the budget on the first day of the special legislative session.

"The good news-- lots of work went in on the front end between the House and the Senate, so it's really close," said state Sen. Peter Wirth. "So there's a few things that are getting shaved and tweaked"
 
New Mexico is facing a $2 billion budget shortfall.

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In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the public is not allowed inside the Roundhouse. All meetings and votes are being streamed online.

However, there were some hiccups. The live stream stopped several times Thursday. 

"We're having a little bit of challenge now with technical difficulties and one of the things I said on the floor this morning, given the public is not in the building, it's absolutely critical that if there are technical difficulties we shut it down," Wirth said. "So just to be real clear to folks out there, nothing's going to happen here that they can't see"

In addition to the budget, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants lawmakers to address police reform and voting.


However, Republicans want to stick to the budget. 

"I think a lot of that will be necessary and conversations that we need to have. But I think the public needs to be part of that conversation," said state Sen. Sander Rue. " If they can't be here, or we don't have technology that will allow people to watch these things without interruption and problems then I don't think we're doing our service to the public to try to decide these things essentially, you know, in the dark"
 
Rue said lawmakers will be able to rebalance the budget thanks, in part, to the state's cash reserves. However, he cautions that it is not a permanent fix. 

"It's kind of a Band-Aid fix," he said. "The idea being that we'll come back in January during the regular session and then make probably more Draconian cuts."


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