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New Mexico Gov. Martinez challenges law stripping gubernatorial authority for out of state travel

As stated in Article V, Section 7 of the New Mexico Constitution, “when the governor travels outside New Mexico’s borders . . . the lieutenant governor shall act as governor.” Governor Susana Martinez recently told the Albuquerque Journal that she’d like to amend this 1948 amendment in such a way that she would retain all the authority of her office when traveling outside the state

Jul 31, 2020
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Photo: Matt Reichbach
Photo: Matt Reichbach
As stated in Article V, Section 7 of the New Mexico Constitution, “when the governor travels outside New Mexico’s borders . . . the lieutenant governor shall act as governor.” Governor Susana Martinez recently told the Albuquerque Journal that she’d like to amend this 1948 amendment in such a way that she would retain all the authority of her office when traveling outside the state.
Having grown up in El Paso, Texas, which sits about five miles from the New Mexico border, Martinez makes frequent trips back home to visit her father and other relatives. Not entirely illogically, Martinez would prefer it if every time she did so she did not have to relinquish her power and duties to her lieutenant governor, John Sanchez. Martinez called the 63-year-old article “silly” and “archaic.”
When the state governor leaves the state, she is not only required to cede her authority to the lieutenant governor on every leave but to inform the lieutenant governor’s office of her plans.
It’s a practice that not every governor has adhered to. Former governor Bill Richardson, for example, attended the 2008 Kentucky Derby without alerting his lieutenant governor, Diane Denish, beforehand.
Changing the state’s Constitutionally approved succession-of-powers, though, is no easy task: it requires majority approval of both chambers of the legislature as well as approval by voters statewide. In order to get even that far, Martinez’s idea, which she has not yet proposed, only voiced her frustration with, would need to make it through this upcoming January’s legislative session, and the earliest a state referendum could be voted on would be next November.
In an age of cell phones and internet communication and other technologies, the governor’s desire to stay in control while out of state sounds more reasonable than it might have even just 10 years ago. Such was the logic of her spokesman, Scott Darnell, when he implied that “if the Legislature were to pass an amendment that appropriately brings the Constitution up to date, she would support it.”
Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood

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Camilo Wood has over two decades of experience as a writer and journalist, specializing in finance and economics. With a degree in Economics and a background in financial research and analysis, Camilo brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his writing. Throughout his career, Camilo has contributed to numerous publications, covering a wide range of topics such as global economic trends, investment strategies, and market analysis. His articles are recognized for their insightful analysis and clear explanations, making complex financial concepts accessible to readers. Camilo's experience includes working in roles related to financial reporting, analysis, and commentary, allowing him to provide readers with accurate and trustworthy information. His dedication to journalistic integrity and commitment to delivering high-quality content make him a trusted voice in the fields of finance and journalism.
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