Proposal to pay legislators sent back to committee

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SANTA FE, N.M. – Every year, state legislators travel from across New Mexico to the Roundhouse for the legislative session – mostly on their own dime.

New Mexico has a voluntary Legislature meaning, besides meal and housing stipends, state representatives and senators aren’t paid. But that could soon change if a handful of sponsors get their way.

In order to pay legislators there would have to be a change to the state Constitution, so multiple Democratic sponsors authored House Joint Resolution 8.

According to the resolution, a citizens’ committee would be put together, and that group would decide how much legislators would get paid.

Now, this proposal has already made it through to the House floor, but on Monday morning, instead of being debated and voted on it was sent back to committee.

“In consultation with the sponsor we are re-referring House Joint Resolution 8 back to Judiciary Committee seeing no objections it is so ordered,” said Speaker of the House Javier Martínez.  

The 11-page resolution has already passed two committees, and it explains in great detail how they will determine a salary for legislators. But the sponsors asked for the resolution to go back to committee because it was too detailed for where it stands.

The Secretary of State asked for the resolution to be slimmed down so if it passes the whole text will be able to fit on a ballot next November. Then, if the resolution is passed by the voters, they can pass a new bill detailing what this salary committee would look like.

Rep. Joy Garratt told KOB 4 they will be cutting back the resolution to only express their goal, to create a committee that will determine what salary legislators should be paid – thus opening the door to make the government more inclusive.

“There are folks who are in the public who have talked about not just issues on good governance but also really diversifying our legislature in terms of life experiences I think it’s really hard to recruit and retain really good legislatures and I think this resolution really helps to address that,” said state Rep. Angelica Rubio. 

Garratt says she is hopeful this slimmed down resolution will be heard this week and make it back to the House floor.

Track HJR 8 during the legislative session.