But nobody can count on legislators not changing their votes. And one basic rule of the Legislature: It's much easier to kill a bill than to pass it. Bringing back capital punishment will not be a cakewalk.
Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell, told KOB-TV last week that he'd like to see a constitutional amendment that would let voters decide on the death penalty. However, a constitutional amendment would take more votes than just changing the law.
During the campaign, Gov. Martinez came down on the conservative side of divisive, hot-button "social issues" such as abortion, domestic partnerships and medical marijuana. With a more conservative Legislature, some liberals have feared that the religious right will prevail on some of these issues during the 2011 session.
But one Republican ex-lawmaker told The New Mexican recently that he suspects Martinez won't actively push for legislation in this area, noting that she didn't campaign hard on any of these issues. She usually talked about them only when they were brought up in interviews or debates.
This observation was given some credence when Martinez, asked at a news conference whether she would be seeking repeal of the medical-marijuana law during the session, replied that while she's still against medical marijuana, "We have bigger issues we have to deal with, like balancing the $450 million budget deficit and reviving the economy."
The issue of gay rights undoubtedly will arise during the session. The outlook for allowing domestic-partnership rights for same-sex and other unmarried couples has failed to get through the Senate in recent years, and the more conservative House makes it seem even less likely to pass. Martinez has promised to veto any such legislation.
Gay-rights opponents are almost certain to introduce some version of a Definition of Marriage Act. After the Attorney General's Office issued a legal opinion earlier this year that New Mexico should recognize same-sex marriages from states and countries that allow it, Sen. William Sharer, R-Farmington, told The Associated Press that he will introduce a constitutional amendment during the upcoming legislative session to define marriage as between a man and woman. Martinez said she supports such action, though a constitutional amendment, which would be decided by voters, does not need the governor's signature.
For as long as anyone can remember, every two years abortion opponents introduce bills to require doctors to inform the parents of girls seeking abortions before an abortion can take place. In the recent past, this Senate has passed such bills, but they die in the House.
With the Democrats in control, a parental-notification bill would still have a hard time making it through the House committee process. However, it probably will be harder to kill it this year with the influx of Republicans.
Rooting out corruption in state government was one of Martinez's driving themes in her election campaign last year. But she has yet to present any legislative proposals of her own in the ethics area.
Ethics has been a hot topic in each legislative session since the FBI arrested state Treasurer Robert Vigil and his predecessor, Michael Montoya, in late 2005. (Both eventually did prison time for corruption charges.) That and
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