Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Friday she would veto legislation that would curb the power of the executive branch over extending public health orders.

“In their current context, yes,” she said when asked whether she would veto such a bill.

That’s not to say governors should be “omnipotent,” Lujan Grisham.

“That’s why you have three branches of government. That’s why you have elections. That’s why we have a free and independent press, and I don’t always get good press,” she said during a Friday news conference.

“I want to be clear,” Lujan Grisham added. “I agree that those systems are important and valuable. New Mexico’s successes in COVID have largely been because we are a centralized public health state where we can have very clear and effective mandates and supports that we can get out at once.

“The states that don’t have that — and local governments decide that, and they start and they stop — have had more deaths, more problems, more hospitalizations, higher infection rates, and now are having trouble, so much trouble with vaccines, that the federal government is coming in to do them directly,” she added.

The governor’s executive authority over emergency declarations has been a sore spot for some lawmakers as well as New Mexico residents. Lujan Grisham’s public health orders have affected the lives of all New Mexicans for nearly a year, ranging from restrictions on indoor dining and religious services to hotel occupancy rates and mask mandates.

The issue of the governor’s emergency powers surfaced during the Senate Rules Committee while legislators were considering the confirmation of Dr. Tracie Collins as Cabinet secretary of the Department of Health.

Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, said the public perception has been that “it’s unlimited power for an unlimited time.”

“Where do you believe in the future we need to be going with that kind of power, so that there is that balance?” he asked Collins.

Collins, who was later confirmed by the Senate, said lawmakers are the voice of their constituents.

“If there is an emergency going on and there’s not the capability of bringing everyone together to hear their voices, then we have to create a space for you to communicate with senior leadership, the governor and myself on what you want to see happen, and it’s a collective discussion about what’s best for the state,” she said.

Collins also said she didn’t think the governor’s intent is to “have all this power — I really think it’s to protect New Mexico.”

Lawmakers are considering two bills that deal with the issue, including legislation that would place a 45-day limit on an emergency health order and require legislative approval to extend it past 45 days is scheduled to be considered by the full Senate.

Lujan Grisham said she understands and didn’t take offense to anyone in the Legislature wanting to have a debate about emergency powers and executive authority.

“I think that this is the place that you have it,” she said. “I have no ill will and I’m not mad. I’m hearing those debates, and I take them seriously.”

But Lujan Grisham said she has firsthand experience about how important it is in an emergency to deal with that crisis.

“I feel confident and I feel very strongly about the effectiveness — not perfect — of the decisions that we’ve made, and I think far more legislators believe that than don’t,” she said.

“I don’t think I’m going to have to veto any bills,” Lujan Grisham added. “I don’t think they get upstairs. But … I won’t know until I know.”

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(48) comments

Margaret Eyler

All People: “You know, maybe the executive branch has a bit too much power.”

Governor: “Nonono! I NEED this much power. Trust me, you. Need. ME. Only I know what’s best for millions of people!”

......it doesn’t get more obvious than that people.

Barry Rabkin

Who is ‘all people?’ ... every legislator?

Red Eagle

‘ That’s why we have a free and independent press,’ MLG, what country are you living in?

Chris Mechels

Going unremarked, of course, the fact that our Governor used 32 Emergency Rulemakings in 2020. These have no provision for public input, and are just laws issued by the Executive, with no oversight. Lest you write this off to Covid, the Governor used 23 Emergency Rulemakings in 2019, before Covid. The average for 8 years before Michelle was 11 per year.

Rulemaking, by law, under the NM Rules Act, must include hearings and allow for public input, with meetings that are openly advertised with public notice given. The Emergency Rulemaking avoids all this, and proceeds in SECRET. Rulemaking is how our LAWS get implemented by the Executive, and rulemaking is Legislation, hence the requirements for public input and involvement. Michelle's overuse of Emergency Rulemaking is thus ILLEGAL, but goes unchallenged by her Democratic cronies. It is ILLEGAL... full stop. Furthermore, even when Public Hearings are held, they are mostly illegal, as the Rules Act is not followed. For instance, ALL the Rule makings by PED, Public Education Department, in 2020 were illegal, in violation of the Rules Act.

This pattern also held for the Richardson administration, which overused Emergency Rulemaking. Martinez followed our laws on Rule Making, Richardson and Grisham chose not to do so. Our Democratic Legislature and Attorney General and the Cabinet don't choose to follow the law. The result is the Executive "making" the law, in these illegal proceedings, which the Legislature should not allow.

So, why pass laws that aren't followed? To mislead the voters of course.

The face of New Mexico, a corrupt, rotten, government with most corruption due to the Democrats who dominate, and corrupt, our government. Their contempt for the Rules Act shows this very clearly.

Our Attorney General and State Auditor, also Democrats, know of this problem, and choose to do nothing. Our press chooses not to report on it.

Its over folks.... we can't "fix" our many problems when laws mean nothing to those in power, and that describes what is happening today.

Barry Rabkin

I’m not sure that NM needs a State Supreme Court when we have you letting us know what is legal and illegal. Where did you get your law degree?

Chris Mechels

Mr. Rabkin, stop being a lazy slug, and actually check the facts I have stated. They are a matter of public record. Sniping is inappropriate, when our very governance is at stake. When the Governor threatens to VETO a bill that limits her power, she's gone over the top, and should be impeached.

Barry Rabkin

No, she shouldn’t be impeached. The legislature has the right to pass a bill to limit her power. She has the equal right to veto it.

Barry Rabkin

I have no need to check the facts you stated. I only have the need to know what our NM Supreme Court rules.

Mike Johnson

Indeed and well said. Extreme partisan politics is where America is today, with NM among the most extreme due to the fact we are a one parry state. That kind of echo chamber causes the brains of most all people who should be questioning and examining actions by an extreme partisan like MLG and her minions, to cease functioning.

Barry Rabkin

I am extremely thankful that our Governor will veto this bill. Manage the health aspects of the global highly contagious virus .. infinitely more important that keeping businesses open.

Kirk Allison

That’s a very narrow perspective, Mr. Rabkin. Laws should not be made, and powers not granted, nor justified based upon singular events. They have broad and sweeping implications, and need to be considered in the greater context.

Barry Rabkin

Yup, I have the perspective of saving lives. But she is using the laws of the State - and btw the court decisions associated with the 10th Amendment of our US Constitution - that enables Governors to use their office to manage healthcare crises like a global pandemic of a highly contagious virus. I intend to keep my perspective ... and to thank our Governor for all of her actions !

Chris Mechels

Mr. Rabkin. You seem completely uninformed on this issue. The PHERA Act, which is the Legislation under discussion, was a confused "hack job" by the Legislature in response to 9/11. It never was invoked until Covid, and it is questionable whether it should have been used for Covid. The Governor simply CHOSE to use it, as it allowed her a great deal of power, and then claimed that the Legislature couldn't override her. She should have been impeached at that point, but the Democratic Legislature of course wouldn't do that.

As with other "hack job" legislation, PHERA needs to be revisited, esp due to the Executive claims, and overreach. Now Michelle claims that she will VETO a changes that restrict her power. Remember, the Executive role is to "execute" laws passed by the Legislature. Her claim is that the Legislature can't restrict her power.

Sounds familiar, like Trump, doesn't it??? The Executive seizing power, and defying the Legislature, and, in some cases, the courts. And, packing the courts of course... All familiar in New Mexico, but by the Democrats.

The face of dictatorship, allowed by submissive, flaccid, voters who are too lazy to engage the problems of governance. Michelle is a threat to our freedom, and our "democracy" if we have any left.

Barry Rabkin

We have a great deal of freedom left. I trust the NM Supreme Court, who probably know 500,000% more than either you or I do about the laws and regulations of NM, to make the correct decisions. I will vote for Michelle again if she runs.

Barry Rabkin

Let’s eliminate our State Supreme Court. No need for it when we have you to tell us what is illegal about our Governor’s actions.

P.J. Catanach

If the Legislature deems her veto not correct, they can always override it.

Barry Rabkin

100% correct.

Comment deleted.
Barry Rabkin

Not an insurance salesman. Insurance industry, yes. And yes, we moved here recently. That doesn’t negate my belief that our Governor is correct in all of her actions to this highly infectious virus. Nor does it negate the fact that striving to save lives is infinitely more important than keeping businesses open.

Richard Reinders

That's funny I heard the Gov. use to sell the high risk insurance to the state of NM along with a state representative who is in office

Comment deleted.
Barry Rabkin

BTW Regardless of NM’s history and problems, I do know that we live here now, pay NM taxes, and will vote for our Governor when she runs again. I know that the Governor, of any State, has the legal right to veto any bill: the legislature then has the legal right to try to over-ride her veto. I also know that it is irrelevant if anyone erroneously thinks the State Supreme Court is useless because the court renders a decision you or anyone else doesn’t like. I would apologize if you don’t like my big mouth but I don’t give a flying #$$&# about what you like or don’t like.

Margaret Eyler

Barry did you move here from California? If so, do you remember WHY you left California?

Barry Rabkin

No, I didn’t come here from California. Never lived in California. But I do believe in the rule of law both in NM and in all States.

Barry Rabkin

About ‘why’ we moved here: When in the Army, I served on WSMR and after discharge, attended NMSU for my graduate degree. I thought the State was beautiful. Before moving, we were tourists in Santa Fe during a week in the Summer for 10 years. None of that negates the need to primarily focus on saving lives and not overwhelming our healthcare system during a global pandemic of a highly infectious virus. Save lives first ... don’t increase the risk of exposure to infection and hospitalization by allowing people to congregate in bars, restaurants, sporting events, balloon festivals, or in companies. Create state and federal interest-free loans for businesses and people during the pandemic; create federal funds to recompense businesses and people during and after the vaccination phase.

Red Eagle

BTW, State money comes from the tax base and Federal $ the same as well as that great printing press in China. Money isn’t just “created” Mr. Rabkin, there is always a cost. When people aren’t working or purchasing non-essential items, the taxes aren’t being collected, so not sure where you think the $$ for your plan is going to come from.

Mike Johnson

Not surprising, in case anyone ever thought she would not cling to dictatorial power until forced to relinquish it. She is a totalitarian despot. Voters, you need to remove her, the legislature and courts are useless.

Barry Rabkin

Actually, no. She is a person who absolutely understands that in a situation of a global pandemic of a highly infectious virus, it is imperative to strive to save lives and not overwhelm our state's healthcare system. Managing contagion is infinitely more important that keeping businesses open.

Kirk Allison

Actually, yes. Managing contagion is not “infinitely” more important, and stating that it is, is saying that people’s livelihoods, the ability to support themselves and their families is of zero importance in comparison.

Mike Johnson

Indeed Mr. Allison, allowing one person to dictate all life's decisions, based on the hope she will save your life (which the statistics do not show she did anything) is tyranny. This is tyranny that has been recognized before:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

― C. S. Lewis

Barry Rabkin

Managing contagion is infinitely more important that keeping businesses open. But I’m willing to change my mind if any person who gets infected or hospitalized can sue the last business, restaurant, or bar they were in for at least 10X that business’s annual revenues, wins his lawsuit, and there is no insurance available to cover the lawsuit or the proceeds of the lawsuit.

First: manage the contagion.

Second: find the monies to recompense the money that businesses lost because they should be closed during the period of the highly contagious virus.

Richard Reinders

While she wines and dines at the Mansion with her friends at tax payers expense while the services industry is bankrupt, I see how she manages she manages just fine.

Barry Rabkin

I absolutely plan to vote for her if she runs again.

P.J. Catanach

[thumbup]

Maryann Palker

[thumbup]

Maryann Palker

Cancel my thumbs up meant for another comment. Not meant for Barry Rabkin

Mike Johnson

[thumbup]

Margaret Eyler

👍

Chris Mechels

This simply illustrates the obvious. The Governor does not accept the definition of the word EXECUTIVE, probably can't even spell it. She thinks its spelled QUEEN.

As I understand it, the purpose of the Executive is to "execute" the Constitution and Laws of New Mexico, which are passed by the Legislature. The Executive has NO power to make laws, as Michelle has been doing.

This confusion is especially bad since the 1986 change which allows 2 terms to the Governor. Every Governor since then has been 2 terms. With our part time Legislature there is no effective check on the Governor, certainly not when the Democrats control the Legislature.

We should at minimum return to a single term of the Governor, which has made our governance much worse. The only "success" with 2 terms was Gary Johnson who was a businessman, not a politician. Same problems with the other elected offices. They once could not serve more than one term, in any elected office. Our current AG Balderas is nearing the end of 16 years at the trough, as Auditor and AG, and a failure at both.

With our weak, pathetic, Legislature our Executive has become a monster, as Michelle is. Always poorly governed, we have become ungovernable, with little tin pot dictators sitting in the Executive chair.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Stefanie Beninato

I definitely think the bills limiting the governor's control are problematic at best. Do you really want a governor to have to call a special session every 45 days during a pandemic? Do you really think that every business should operate at a MINIMUM of 50 percent capacity during the height of contagion? Do you really want armed people wondering the streets when a public emergency order is issued? The last one is particularly egregious. People who have guns can have them at their residences and at their businesses during such a public emergency...if they need to defend themselves they can. The exception would allow insurrectionists to take to the streets without any legal limitations. Who could identify the insurrectionists from law abiding citizens? No thanks.

Khal Spencer

Thanks for all the red herrings, but yes, I think the Governor should have to call a legislative session in order to prolong an emergency order indefinitely.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup] Well said Khal, but some people seem to like being told what to do in their lives, and following like lemmings.

Barry Rabkin

I think that our governor should have all the required authority to contain and manage a highly infectious virus as long as a vaccine does not exist. The governor should strive to manage to save lives rather than to keep businesses open.

Khal Spencer

You would love a dictatorship.

Mike Johnson

Indeed he would Khal, as long as that dictator is a far left wing type. We all know Mr. Rabkin would be as upset as we are if Pearce had made the very same decisions. But, since we are not hypocrites and partisan we would be saying the same things no matter who was making these totalitarian decisions.

Kirk Allison

“Do you really want armed people wondering [sic] the streets when a public emergency order is issued?”

Yes, all your fearful rhetoric aside, I do. I would far prefer our citizens be armed than not. I would far prefer our citizens be able to police their own communities than not.

What we have now should be a HUGE red flag to everyone wanting open and transparent government. No limits to power, the populace barred from the people’s own house by barricades, fencing, and the continuing presence of armed guards? This is not the government the Founding Fathers bequeathed us.

Stefanie Beninato

You obviously have not read the current legislation. It allows lawabiding gun owners to have guns at their homes and businesses.> What more do you really need to protect yourself--do you think vigilante groups are OK> After all we have an armed militia--it is called the National Guard.

Lee DiFiore

The governor would veto a bill limiting her dictatorial powers? Shocking!

Khal Spencer

Yep. Fox guarding the chicken coop. We need a legislature that will override a veto. Hahahahahahaha.......

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