Actions:  SRC/SJC-SRC
Scheduled: Not Scheduled
Senate Joint Resolution 10 (SJR 10): This proposed amendment to Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution of New Mexico. This amendment pertains to the filling of legislative vacancies. The key points include the method of filling vacancies by appointment or election based on the time remaining until the expiration of the term, with specific provisions for vacancies occurring close to the start of a regular legislative session.Legislation Overview:
Senate Joint Resolution 10 (SJR 10): Proposed changes to current system (A): • Members of the Senate serve for six years. • Senators from specific counties have staggered terms, starting January 1, 1961. • Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms. • Vacancies are filled by the county commissioners for a term ending on December 31, subsequent to the next succeeding general election. Proposed Changes (A): • Members of the Senate would serve for four years. • All Senators would have four-year terms. • Members of the House of Representatives would continue to serve two-year terms. • Vacancies would be filled based on the time remaining until the expiration of the term. Current System (B): • County commissioners fill vacancies for a term ending on December 31, subsequent to the next succeeding general election. Proposed Changes (B): Vacancies would be filled as follows: • If less than six months remain until the term expires, the vacancy is filled by appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term. • If the vacancy occurs during or less than sixty days before the start of a regular session and with six months or more remaining until the term expires, the vacancy is temporarily filled by appointment until an election is conducted no later than sixty days after that session ends. • In all other instances, the vacancy is filled at an election conducted no later than sixty days after the vacancy occurs and for the remainder of the unexpired term. Additional Provision (C): • Nothing prohibits a future appointment from being made in anticipation of an impending vacancy. • An impending vacancy is treated as a vacancy for determining the start date to fill the vacancy. Purpose and Implications: • The proposed amendment shortens Senate terms from six to four years, aligning them with the House of Representatives. • The proposed changes provide a more flexible approach to filling vacancies, taking into account the time remaining until the expiration of the term and the proximity of the vacancy to a regular legislative session. • Temporary appointments are allowed in certain circumstances, such as when a vacancy occurs close to the start of a regular session. • The proposal establishes specific timeframes for conducting elections to fill vacancies, ensuring timely representation. • The provision allowing future appointments in anticipation of impending vacancies adds a level of flexibility to the appointment process.