- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Leading New Mexico lawmakers will gather this week to weigh the consequences of the governor’s veto of funding for the legislative branch of government in the coming fiscal year.

The 16-member Legislative Council that oversees Statehouse business in between legislative sessions scheduled a meeting for Thursday to consider how it might respond to major line-item budget vetoes by Gov. Susana Martinez.

The Republican governor last week vetoed the staff budget for the New Mexico Legislature, along with funding to all state universities and colleges. She wants to renegotiate a budget deal after vetoing proposed increases to taxes and fees approved by the Democratic-led Legislature, whose budget package was designed to shore up funding to school districts, courts and critical state government services.

Legislative Council Service Director Raul Burciaga said Tuesday that researchers have been unable to find similar instances of any state governor effectively defunding a legislature. Some Democratic lawmakers say they are looking into legal action.

Democratic lawmakers would need help from the Republican minority to override vetoes by Martinez with a two-thirds vote, and House Republican leaders have said they unwilling to lend support.

Martinez has been defending her budget cuts and blasting the Legislature’s proposed tax increases during appearances Monday and Tuesday in southern and eastern New Mexico. The governor plans to call a special session of the legislature to address budget and educational issues, but she has not yet set a date.

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