Democrats crying wolf about additional legislative session
All summer long, angry Democratic lawmakers have talked of staging an extraordinary legislative session.
Any number of them said the session would be a way to dig deep into the evidence -- or lack of it -- that Gov. Susana Martinez's administration relied on when cutting off funding to well-established mental health agencies.
Sens. Bill O'Neill of Albuquerque and Michael Sanchez, right, of Belen were among several who spoke about an extraordinary session.
But talk is cheap. An extraordinary session will not happen. It never had a chance of happening, and Democrats always knew that or they failed arithmetic.
It was obvious from the beginning that they did not have the votes to pull it off.
Democrats control the Senate 25-17 and the House of Representatives 38-32. They would need at least one Republican in the Senate and five in the House to side with them to force an extraordinary session.
Getting that one vote in the Senate would be difficult but not impossible. Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, would be the most likely person for Democrats to try to win over.
Martinez campaigned against Woods in a Republican primary election last year. Woods won decisively, handing Martinez and her political adviser an embarrassing defeat.
Woods owes Martinez no loyalty, but their contentious history might not be enough for him to join with Democrats in a show of force against the governor.
Even if Woods or another Senate Republican sided with the Democrats, they still would have no shot at an extraordinary session.
Odds of five Republicans in the House joining Democrats to trigger an extraordinary session are equal to those of Martinez joining the Green Party.
No matter, Sanchez, the Senate majority leader, was still talking about an extraordinary session last week. But he had no answer as to how the necessary votes would be collected to make it happen.
Talking but not acting has been a recent pattern with Democratic lawmakers.
Reps. Gail Chasey and Antonio Maestas, both Democrats from Albuquerque, last spring publicly challenged Martinez's appointee to the Public Defender Commission as unqualified under the law.
Chasey and Maestas seemed to have a solid case, but they never tried to make it. They complained about Martinez violating the law, but never followed through with a lawsuit to remove her appointee from the public defender panel.
The way this summer has gone, Democratic lawmakers may still be talking about an extraordinary session when Halloween hits the calendar.
They are not scaring anyone. Martinez has grown accustomed to Democrats barking but never biting.