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Navajo times. [volume] (Window Rock, Ariz.) 1960-1984, October 01, 1960, Image 7

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85047513/1960-10-01/ed-1/seq-7/

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Proposed Amendments Discussed
The 1959 New Mexico Legisla
ture proposed moe amendments to
•ur State Constitution. At the gen
eral etection on Nov. 8 ot this
year, tne voters will decioe wheth
er they want all or any ot these
changes. It takes a majority vote
•n each amendment tor approval.
The tcnowuig nnormation con
cerning tne pi uposea aiuenumei<ts
was compned oy tne league ot
Women voters ut New iviexico
with tne assistance oi persons
trained in governmental proced
ures. The arguments tor and
against each amendment are ar
guments advanced by persons
who favor or oppose each one.
Proposed Amendment No. lj
Staggered Terms for State Sen
ators. At present Article IV, Sec
tion 4 of the New Mexico Consti
tution provides that all State sen
ators be elected for concurrent
four-year terms at the presiden
tial election and that State rep
resentatives be elected for two
year terms at each general elec
tion.
The proposed amendment would
provide for staggered terms of
the senators from half of the coun
ties would be electee at each gen
eral election every two years. To
begin this staggering of terms m
1960 - this year - the senators
from half of the counties would
be elected to serve four years,
and the senators from the other
sixteen counties named i n the
amendment would be elected to
serve for six years beginning Jan
uary l, 1961. Thereafter all the
senators would be elected for four
year terms. The sixteen counties
whose senators would serve for
six years initially are: Bernalillo.
Chavez, Curry, Deßaca, Grant]
Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Sandoval, San
Juan, San Miguel, Socorro, Taos,
Torrance, Union, and Valencia.
There would be no change in
the terms of office of the State
representatives! they would still
be elected for two-year terms at
each general election.
Argument* or-
Staggered terms would provide
beneficial continuity in the State
Senate; this is especially desir_
able because of the increasing use
of interim committees. The sena
tors who serve on these commit
tees would be able to present the
committee recommendations to
the Senate.
With half of its members cer
tain to be experienced, thf Sen
ate could organize more quickly
would produce more carefully
planned legislation. Since half of
the senators would be elected ev
ery two years, there won id be
more frequent opportunity for ex
pression of popular approval or
disapproval of actions of the er
tire senate. The worth o stag_
gered terms for senators has been
proved over many years in the
United States Senate.
The only way to initiate stag-1
gered terms is to have some sen-1
ators serve longer than others in:
the transition period.
..Arguments Against:
The new ideas of new members!
are more desirable than contin
uity and experience.
The amendment is unfair to the (
sixteen counties whos e senators
will, this year, be elected for only
four years. The initial six - year
period is too long.
The amendment should have
been prepared for an election at
which Senators were not being
elected; the voter should know
whether he is voting for a man
to serve for four or six years as
senators.
..Proposed Amendment No. 2:
Annual Sessions of the Legisla
ture.
At present Article IV, Section 5
of th£ New Mexico Constitution
provides for biennial regular ses-i
sions of the legislature convening
on the second Tuesday of January !
in -odd-numbered years and last-'
ing not longer than 60 days. j
The proposed amendment would
inquire annual sessions* conven-'
ing on the last Tuesday of January
i each year, in the odd-numbered
J years, the sessions would be lim
ited to the present sixty days; in
the even-numbered years, they
be limited to thirty days.
The subjects to be considered at
th e short session would be limited
to:
1. Budget, appropriations, and
revenue unis:
2. urns correcting or amenuing
legislation enacted m tne iaot pre
vious regular session;
J. Aius orawu pursuant to spe
cial messages ot the Governor;
4. Buis ot me last previous regu
lar session vetoed by the Gover
nor; and
5. Bills introduced by interim
legislative committees.
No change is made in the pro
visions for calling special ses
sions.
Arguments for:
Government has become so com
plicated and so big that a ses
sion every two years cannot ac
complish what needs to be done;
therefore, it is reasonable that
annual sessions be held.
A session each yeaj wou'd tend
to cause legislators to keep in
constant touch with state govern
ment situatioons and thereby pro
duce more thoughtful legislation.
The legislature will be able to
perform its function of appropria
ting money without having to dele
gate this power to some execu
tive agency such as the Board of
Finance. It is impossible to make
up budgets which will cover actu
al income and expenditures two
years in advance.
Errors in legislation which are
made in one session must now
wait two years to be corrected.
With the Adoption of this amend
ment the errors can be corrected
in one year and by the same
legislators. The short session off
ers the Governor an opportunity
to propose legislation necessary
to carry out his program as it
develops during his term of of
fice.
The short session would allow
the reconsideration by the same
legislators of bills vetoed by the
Governor after adjournment of
the Governor after adjournment of
the 60-day session. Interim com
mittees could report to the same
people who appointed them.
The later opening date offers
the Governor and legislators two
weeks more time tor preparing
legislative proposals after taking
office.
. Arguments Against:
A session every year will take
too much time from legislators’
personal business; unless annual
salaries are provided, some cap
able men won’t serve. Interim
committees need more than one
year to make the studies assigned
to them.
Two sessions in the biennium
will cost more than half again as
much as one session in per diem
expenses for legislators, in travel
costs, and for staff salaries: some
new staff members will have to
be trained for the second session.
Meeting annually, the legis
lature might attempt to tak e over
some of the executive Dowers.
Prupuscd AuieMuineat No. 3:
Establishment by Law of Timei
Limit on Introduction of Bills in
Legislature.
At present Article IV, Section
19 of the New Mexico Constitu
tion allows the introduction of ail
kinds of bills through the forty
fifth <45) day of the regular legis
lative session. After the forty
fifth (45) day only th e general ap
propriations bill and bills sent
from the Governor by special mes
sage may be introduced.
The proposed amendment would
allow the legislature by passing,
a law to set the time limitation
for ihe introduction of bills at any
session of the legislature. *
Arguments for:
It seems sensible to remove
such minute details from the Con
stitution. The present forty-five
(45d *d>ay' limit for introducing bills
Is too long.
The amendment will allow the!
legislature to cut off the intro
duction of bills earlier, while the
legislators can give the bills al
ready introduced the consideration
they deserve.
If Amendment No. 2 is approv
ed the thirty (30> day session
must nave an earner aeaditne tor
me introduction ot proposed legis
lation. inis can be estaonsned
more easily by legislative action.
Arguments against;
Tne Constitution snomd set the
time nmit; otnerwise me legisla
ture can enact a law to have bills
introduced until the very last aay
of the session, or can change the
session.
Removal of this prohibition
might encourage legislators to
wait until the last moment to in
troduce bills so that more bills
will have to be studied and de
cided upon during the closing days
of the session than now are.
Proposed Amendment No. 4:
Confirming the Girls’ Welfare
Home, the Carrie Tingley Crip
pled Children’s Hospital, and the
Los Lunas Mental Hospital as
State Institutions.
At present Article IV, Section
1 of the New Mexico Constitution
lists only the Penitentiary at San
ta Fe, the Miners’ Hospitol at
Raton, the New Mexico Stair Hos
pital at Los Vegas, and the New
Mexico Boys’ School at Springer
as state institutions.
The proposed amendment would
add the Girls' Welfare Home at
Albuquerque, the Carrie Tingley
Crippled Children’s Hospital at
Truth -or Consequences, and the
Los Lunas Mental Hospital at Los
Lunas to this list of constitution
ally established state institutions.
These three institutions presently
operate under state boards cre
ated by the legislature.
Arguments for:
1 The addition of these instituti
ons to this section of the Consti
tution will -raise them to a status
comparable to other correctional
I and charitable institutions in the
I Stata
This would enao»e tnese institu
| tions to participate in the income
and permanent funds from Fed
eral grant lands. The functions of
these institutions is as important
as the functions of those already
mentioned'in the Constitution, so
they deserve such assured in
come.
Arguments against:
The funds from th e grant lands
which are now divided among
four institutions would be divided
among seven, and the legislative
appropriation would merely be re
apportioned. Enumerating the in
stitutions and their geographical
locations in the Constitution re
moves some legislative control
over them because they would be
constitutionally established rather
than legislatively established.
Proposed Amendment No. 5:
Four-Year Terms for Elected
State Executives.
At present Article V, Section 1
of the New Mexico Constitution
provides for the election of the
Governor, Lieutenant Governor,
Secretary of State, Treasurer. Au
ditor. Attorney General, and Com
missioner of Public Lands for
two-year terms at each general
election. After serving two con
secutive terms in any of these of
fices, they are ineligible to hold
any elective state office for two
years thereafter
The proposed amendment would
change the terms of office of these
executives from two years to four
years and would continue the two
consecutive terms limitation. Aft
er serving two consecutive four
year terms, a person would be
“ineligible to hold any state of
fice for four years thereafter.”
The amendment would set the
first election for four-year terms:
at the first general election after
the adoption of'the amendment.
Arguments for:
Two years is not long enough
£»r any official to learn his job,
to plan and carry out a orogram.,
A four-year term would allow
an elective official to devote time ;
to performing his job before cam
paigning for re-election. With a
tour-year term in which to dem
onstrate their abilities, high cali
ber men wni seek otnee and will
be able to product benei anuuu
lowUiivtl. omCiaia, SUCII
as beaus oi departments, m.oui
aiso expect to serve ior uie iwur
years wun similar improvement
in tne t> p* or m<m anu m ius per
formance. it New Mexico is to
nave a niouern feraomiei oyatein
for its non-poiicy making staff
workers, mis becomes increasing
ly important.
The voter would have a more
adequate performance record on
which to judge whether he wishes
a certain official to be re-elected.
Arguments against:
Eight years is too long lor any
official to be in office. The voters
should be able to get rid of poor
officials every two years. As now
worded, this amendment might al
low those now in office to stay
in for ten or twelve years; they
could build up overwhelming po
litical machines.
The provision of not being eligi
ble for any other State office un
til four years after serving two
terms would discourage good men
from seeking a career in State
government.
The office holders will feel no
responsibility to the people for a
longer period of time.
Proposed Amendment No. 6:
Permitting the Establishment of
Certain Executive Offices and
Agencies at Places Determined by
the Legislature and the Gover
nor.
At present the Attorney General
has held, in a recent decision,
that Article V, Section 1 ot the 1
Mexico Constitution requires
that the principal office? ot al 1
State executive agencies must be
maintained in the capitol, Santa
1 Fe. The proposed amendment
would add the following new Sec
tion 15 to Article V: j
“Officers and agencies of the
executive department established
by the legislature may maintain
offices at such places within the
State as the legislature may de
termine by a three-fifth vote of
the elected members ol each
house of the legislature and the (
approval of the Governor.’’ Thej
amendment would only apply to |
officers or agencies established I
by the legislature no. ot those
established by the Constitution.
Arguments for:
This amendment would clearly
establish the power of the legis
lature to locate such executive of
fices and agencies where they
could most effectively serve the |
people by reason of Shifts of cen
ters of population, or other chang *
es of conditions.
Some state agencies can better
serve the public from offices lo
cated at points other than, or in,
addition to, Santa Fe; they are
then closer to the people whom
they serve.
Moves would not be made too
frequently as the jonsent of thr .e
--fifths of th e legislature and of the ;
Governor are necessary.
Arguments against: ]
Politics and patronage, rather i
than good government, would dic
tate the placing of such offices.
There will be more emphasis on j
the State as a whole, less region- (
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, alism, if all State offices are kept
in Santa Fe.
; Decentralization oi the execu
tive department would result. The
requirement of a three-fiuhs vote
ot the entire legislature is re
strictive, wnen most actions ot uie
legislature require only a majority
vote ot those present.
tr Aiiivuu.iuiii No. 1;
Lnangitig me names oi certain
b.uvc uuuct.ti..n<n moi.tUwons to
me xxa.nes now Commonly Used
uy mem.
At present Article u, Sccuoa
11 v>i me in.w mcA-co Coiutiii!-
tion lists nine state educational
institutions oy tne names mey nad
when the Constitution was adopt
ed in 1912.
The proposed amendment would
add to the list the Eastern New
Mexico University at Portaies,
which was established after 1&12
in accordance with Section 12 ot
Article II; and it would make
the names in the Constitution of
the other schools conform to the
names now commonly used by
them.
The amendment aiso makes cer
tain that all trust lands held by
the institutions unuer r eir form
er names would continue to be
held for those institutions under
their new names if the amend
ment. is adopted.
Arguments for:
The amendment would clear up
many difficulties which arise be
cause ot the contusion between
the official name now in current
use.
Arguments against:
The amendments should have
delved authority to tne govern
ing ootues ot the institutions or
to the legislature for making rea
sonable name changes.
Proposed Amendment No. 8:
Permitting Division of Counties
into County Commission Dis
tricts and Authorizing the El
ection of District County Com
missioners.
At present Article V, Section 13
iof the New Mexico Constitution
requires only that a public officer
reside somewhere in the political
subdivision for which he is elect
ed or appointed. In accordance
with the arguments used by the
New Mexico Supreme Court in
deciding that a city ward is not
a political subdivision, this Section
I 13 does not require that a County
| Commissioner reside in the coun
| ty commission district for which
!h e is elected. He needs only to
reside somewhere in the county.
The effect then is that the coun
ty commission districts are only
positions on the ballot and have
no relation to geographical repre
sentation.
The proposed amendment would
authorize the legislature to enact
laws permitting the counties to
divide into county commission dis
tricts; it also allows the legisla
ture to require the residency of
the commissioners in ‘ their res
pective districts.
Arguments for:
Passage of this amendment *
would enable the legislature to
make commissioner districts
meaningful, which they are not
at present.
Those counties which wish to
have geographical representation
on their county commissions
would be able to do so.
In larger counties this would
provide better representation of
Continued on page 15

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