The New Mexico Supreme Court has denied a request from two state lawmakers to keep Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham from spending federal pandemic aid while their lawsuit challenging her authority to spend the money is pending.
In an order issued Thursday, the state’s high court also ordered Lujan Grisham and State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg to respond to the lawsuit by Oct. 15.
Sens. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, and Greg Baca, R-Belen, filed the lawsuit Sept. 18 alleging the governor already has violated the New Mexico Constitution by appropriating $600 million of the state’s $1.73 billion in American Recovery Plan Act funds without legislative approval. The court must act to prevent further unauthorized spending of the remaining $1.08 billion, the suit says.
The $600 million was used to replenish the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund.
Lujan Grisham has said the Legislature lacks the authority to direct the spending of federal funds.
Lawmakers have asked Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office to issue an opinion on the issue. A spokesman for the office said in a recent email the request is “under active review.”
New Mexico education officials are asking for public comment on their overhaul of the social studies curriculum.