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Tobacco bill vetoed [1012]

Sen. Lynda Lovejoy, D-Crownpoint, sponsored Senate Bill 225 to end this disparity. She said allowing some companies to escape payment threatens New Mexico's 1998 master settlement with Big Tobacco companies.

That agreement brings the state $35 million to $40 million a year.

Martinez, in vetoing the bill Wednesday, said there was no pressing need to create the cigarette law.

She vetoed a similar cigarette bill last year, calling it a tax increase. Martinez campaigned for governor on a promise not to increase any taxes.

"While a credible argument can be made that escrow collection may or may not be a tax increase, my primary concern with this bill relates to ongoing arbitration between the state and major tobacco companies," Martinez said.

Tobacco companies that signed the master agreement are challenging dozens of states on compliance issues. They hope to avoid or reduce annual payments to those states.

"Because New Mexico is in compliance with the master settlement agreement, there is no need to amend the law at this time,"

Martinez said in her veto message.

Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, disagreed.

"The issue is if we don't fix this, we stand to lose a big chunk of money," she said.

The American Cancer Society Action Network supported the bill as a means of protecting the money that flows to New Mexico from Big Tobacco.

In addition to the cigarette bill, Martinez vetoed a handful of other measures Wednesday.

One bill would have increased the salary cap for elected county officials.

Martinez said the state's economic recovery was not secure, and she did not want to create the possibility of pay increases funded by taxpayers. The proposal she vetoed was House Bill 188, by Rep. Al Park, D-Albuquerque.

Martinez also vetoed House Bill 186, which would have created three additional judgeships in metropolitan Albuquerque.

She said the annual appropriation of $773,972 was "not sufficient to fully fund these positions and the staff, supplies, and furnishings necessary." Martinez said this would have caused the need for more state money in succeeding years.

Martinez also for the time vetoed a bill that would have allowed drunken drivers who caused a loss of life to obtain ignition interlock licenses.

Sen. Vernon Asbill, R-Carlsbad, sponsored the proposal, Senate Bill 71. He said those who made a tragic mistake cannot drive to their jobs, to school or to attend a treatment program because of the existing restriction.

But Martinez said she could not sign a law that would extend driving privileges to these defendants before they completed probation or parole.

"To do so would minimize the severity of these offenses, making them equivalent to traditional DUI offenses," Martinez said.

Martinez said in her veto message.

Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, disagreed.

"The issue is if we don't fix this, we stand to lose a big chunk of money," she said.

The American Cancer Society Action Network supported the bill as a means of protecting the money that flows to New Mexico from Big Tobacco.

In addition to the cigarette bill, Martinez vetoed a handful of other measures Wednesday.

One bill would have increased the salary cap for elected county officials.

Martinez said the state's economic recovery was not secure, and she did not want to create the possibility of pay increases funded by taxpayers. The proposal she vetoed was House Bill 188, by Rep. Al Park, D-Albuquerque.

Martinez also vetoed House Bill 186, which would have created three additional judgeships in metropolitan Albuquerque.

She said the annual appropriation of $773,972 was "not sufficient to fully fund these positions and the staff, supplies, and furnishings necessary." Martinez said this would have caused the need for more state money in succeeding years.

Martinez also for the time vetoed a bill that would have allowed drunken drivers who caused a loss of life to obtain ignition interlock licenses.

Sen. Vernon Asbill, R-Carlsbad, sponsored the proposal, Senate Bill 71. He said those who made a tragic mistake cannot drive to their jobs, to school or to attend a treatment program because of the existing restriction.

But Martinez said she could not sign a law that would extend driving privileges to these defendants before they completed probation or parole.

"To do so would minimize the severity of these offenses, making them equivalent to traditional DUI offenses," Martinez said.

Martinez said in her veto message.

Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, disagreed.

"The issue is if we don't fix this, we stand to lose a big chunk of money," she said.

The American Cancer Society Action Network supported the bill as a means of protecting the money that flows to New Mexico from Big Tobacco.

In addition to the cigarette bill, Martinez vetoed a handful of other measures Wednesday.

One bill would have increased the salary cap for elected county officials.

Martinez said the state's economic recovery was not secure, and she did not want to create the possibility of pay increases funded by taxpayers. The proposal she vetoed was House Bill 188, by Rep. Al Park, D-Albuquerque.

Martinez also vetoed House Bill 186, which would have created three additional judgeships in metropolitan Albuquerque.

She said the annual appropriation of $773,972 was "not sufficient to fully fund these positions and the staff, supplies, and furnishings necessary." Martinez said this would have caused the need for more state money in succeeding years.

Martinez also for the time vetoed a bill that would have allowed drunken drivers who caused a loss of life to obtain ignition interlock licenses.

Sen. Vernon Asbill, R-Carlsbad, sponsored the proposal, Senate Bill 71. He said those who made a tragic mistake cannot drive to their jobs, to school or to attend a treatment program because of the existing restriction.

But Martinez said she could not sign a law that would extend driving privileges to these defendants before they completed probation or parole.

"To do so would minimize the severity of these offenses, making them equivalent to traditional DUI offenses," Martinez said.

 

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