It has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…
We at the Rio Grande Foundation are not “democrats” (note the small d). But we definitely don’t believe in unitary executive power, which can look an awful lot like a “dictatorship.” Unfortunately, during the current health crisis, a “dictatorship” is a term that closely resembles what our State government has become.
The idea that one person of either political party can control State government for more than four months now (with no sign of stopping) is a clear indicator that some form of checks and balances must be re-imposed in New Mexico government. Sen. Greg Baca introduced legislation in the special session to address the issue, but it didn’t even get a hearing.
At the very least it seems that after 30 days or so of an emergency the Gov. should have to get legislative buy-in (even in some kind of virtual meeting) from the Legislature as is the law in most states.
Will any legislative Democrats step forward to argue for restrictions on this or any future Gov.’s powers? Or, will the GOP be able to make inroads this fall by pushing to restore the balance of power between executive and legislative branches?
One Reply to “New Mexico Government Needs Checks and Balances: even in a health emergency”
The big problem is statute NMSA 12-10A-5 (1978) which gives near dictatorial powers to the Governor’s office. The statute is titled “Declaring a State of Public Health Emergency.” The statute was passed in the 2003 legislative session, one in which Dems held a majority in both houses of the state legislature (as has been the case of 80 of the last 90 years). https://laws.nmonesource.com/w/nmos/Chapter-12-NMSA-1978#!fragment/zoupio-_Toc27129384/BQCwhgziBcwMYgK4DsDWszIQewE4BUBTADwBdoAvbRABwEtsBaAfX2zgCYB2ARg4E4AzAA4ALAEoANMmylCEAIqJCuAJ7QA5BskRCYXAiUr1WnXoMgAynlIAhdQCUAogBknANQCCAOQDCTyVIwACNoUnZxcSA