Special Session still on the table?

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More than a month has passed since the 2006 legislative session closed, but lawmakers may not be finished yet.

That’s according to State Sen. Ben Altamirano. Last week, the Silver City Democrat (and Senate president), told attendees at a luncheon (sponsored by the Association of Commerce and Industry and the Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce) that a special session is possible.

Altamirano said Gov. Bill Richardson is still thinking of a session to consider several issues that never made it through both houses of the Legislature. Specifically, Benny mentioned efforts to raise the minimum wage in New Mexico, the GRIP II project, and a tax omnibus package (see ACI’s wrap-up for more).

I haven’t seen or heard anything else about a special session, unless you count this NRO column written last week about Richardson’s spending as governor:

This legislation was thwarted at the last minute by a handful of senators from Richardson’s own party. Had it succeeded, it would have raised the minimum wage in low-cost, low-income New Mexico above that of high-cost, high-income states like New Jersey, New York, and California. Richardson, however, has vowed to continue trying to pass a massive hike in the mandated wage, and he may yet call a special legislative session to do just that.

It’s not outside the realm of possibility, and if Benny is talking about it, I wouldn’t call the idea of a special session “dead.”

Meanwhile, the Guv is still making news around the country – his presidential ambitions are mentioned in every story about a possible Western Democratic primary; he was singled out as the only “potential presidential candidate” in New Hampshire to suggest a timetable for troop withdrawal; and he talked immigration, energy and North Korea in Palm Beach.

He’s also catching some flack at home – the shooting of a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy has caused a stir, and 25 lawmakers are asking for an investigation into hiring practices. He’s also seen a drop in poll numbers recently. With the negative news and a busy campaign schedule, will Richardson have the stomach to call for a special session?

New Mexico Matters has more on Richardson today, including an interview transcript from Florida.

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