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Saturday, March 21, 2009

NM House Kills SunCal TIDD 33-33; Motion to Reconsider Killed 33-33; Stick a Fork In It, It's Done

Are you pinching yourself? I am. Despite SunCal hiring 11 lobbyists, spending lavishly on extensive direct mail, billboards and ads and spreading generous amounts of campaign cash around the Roundhouse, the SunCal TIDD bill failed in the NM House on Friday night by virtue of two tie votes. SB 249, sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez, was stopped first by a 33-33 vote that meant it was tabled, according to House rules. Soon afterwards, a motion to reconsider went down in flames with another 33-33 tie vote. Only one motion to reconsider is allowed, so SB 249 is now officially dead. At least for this Session. Amazing.

I don't know yet who voted for or against the bill, but I do know that three reps were excused and didn't vote: Ray Begaye, Eleanor Chavez and Dennis Roch. I also know that Joni Gutierrez was not excused but did not vote on the bill. She did vote yes on the motion to reconsider. And Nate Cote voted no on the bill but had to leave before the motion to reconsider was made.

Maybe all our calls and emails really had an impact. Maybe all those well respected groups and individuals that came out strongly against it made a giant dent in SunCal's credibility. Maybe House members were forced to think long and hard about the consequences of supporting the bill after so much negative information was revealed about its dangers, its weaknesses, its lack of proper oversight, its economic risks for the entire state. Maybe they thought about having to face the voters in less than two years, and having to explain why they voted to dedicate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the state's future tax revenues to one area on the West Side of Albuquerque.

Most likely, it was a combination of factors. The precarious financial challenges faced by New Mexico and the nation may well have played a part this year, especially with so many SunCal projects in the West now in bankruptcy.

Last year, the NM House passed the SunCal TIDD. It was stopped on the Senate Floor with a filibuster led by Sen. Cisco McSorley. This year, it was the opposite. The SunCal TIDD was easily passed by the Senate by a vote of 29-9. Even many of those against the bill thought it would pass the House. Thankfully, they were wrong.

You can listen to the entire debate on the bill courtesy of KUNM. Also check out the marathon live blog from the House provided by the long-suffering folks at the New Mexico Independent.

March 21, 2009 at 02:49 AM in Economy, Populism, Land Issues, NM Legislature 2009, Sprawl Development | Permalink


That's good news, nice to see that at least enough of the House gets it to stop that nonsense again.

Posted by: VP | Mar 21, 2009 7:34:41 AM

Thanks to the information about SunCal's many bad projects in the Journal (whoa!!) and Lora Lucero's dogged work, this is a victory for New Mexico!!

Posted by: bg | Mar 21, 2009 8:26:01 AM

What's this? Something positive has happened regarding money and the NM Legislature? I don't know exactly how to react. I keep looking under everything to see the hidden surprise that must surely lurk beneath.


Posted by: scot | Mar 21, 2009 11:00:09 AM

With the housing bubble burst, we can't just go on building and sprawling developments. We should just be restoring and renewing what is already there.

Posted by: qofdisks | Mar 21, 2009 3:36:43 PM

"And Ned Cote voted no on the bill but had to leave..." I think you mean Nate Cote, HD 53.

Senator Steve Fishman sent an email blast (I am on his list) that thoughtfully provided the known emails of all the House members that use email, so it was easy for me to send out a "Please vote NO" on the bill. It was quite up to date too--I think only one came back as a bad address.

Posted by: Ellen Wedum | Mar 21, 2009 7:15:25 PM

Just wanted folks to know that I missed many votes this session including this one because I spent 20 horrible days in the hospital during the month of March and in the end finaly had surgery. I am definately upset that I did not have the opportunity to vote against Sun-Cal and all of their mighty dollars.
Eleanor Chavez

Posted by: Eleanor Chavez | Apr 7, 2009 1:47:46 PM