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Article IV, New Mexico Constitution

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New Mexico Constitution
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Article IV of the New Mexico Constitution is entitled Legislative Department and consists of 42 sections.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Vesting of Legislative Power; Location of Sessions; Referendum on Legislation

The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and house of representatives which shall be designated the legislature of the state of New Mexico, and shall hold its sessions at the seat of government.

The people reserve the power to disapprove, suspend and annul any law enacted by the legislature, except general appropriation laws; laws providing for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety; for the payment of the public debt or interest thereon, or the creation or funding of the same, except as in this constitution otherwise provided; for the maintenance of the public schools or state institutions, and local or special laws. Petitions disapproving any law other than those above excepted, enacted at the last preceding session of the legislature, shall be filed with the secretary of state not less than four months prior to the next general election. Such petitions shall be signed by not less than ten per centum of the qualified electors of each of three-fourths of the counties and in the aggregate by not less than ten per centum of the qualified electors of the state, as shown by the total number of votes cast at the last preceding general election. The question of the approval or rejection of such law shall be submitted by the secretary of state to the electorate at the next general election; and if a majority of the legal votes cast thereon, and not less than forty per centum of the total number of legal votes cast at such general election, be cast for the rejection of such law, it shall be annulled and thereby repealed with the same effect as if the legislature had then repealed it, and such repeal shall revive any law repealed by the act so annulled; otherwise, it shall remain in force unless subsequently repealed by the legislature. If such petition or petitions be signed by not less than twenty-five per centum of the qualified electors under each of the foregoing conditions, and be filed with the secretary of state within ninety days after the adjournment of the session of the legislature at which such law was enacted, the operation thereof shall be thereupon suspended and the question of its approval or rejection shall be likewise submitted to a vote at the next ensuing general election. If a majority of the votes cast thereon and not less than forty per centum of the total number of votes cast at such general election be cast for its rejection, it shall be thereby annulled; otherwise, it shall go into effect upon publication of the certificate of the secretary of state declaring the result of the vote thereon. It shall be a felony for any person to sign any such petition with any name other than his own, or to sign his name more than once for the same measure, or to sign such petition when he is not a qualified elector in the county specified in such petition; provided, that nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the writing thereon of the name of any person who cannot write, and who signs the same with his mark. The legislature shall enact laws necessary for the effective exercise of the power hereby reserved.[1]

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Powers Generally; Disaster Emergency Procedure

In addition to the powers herein enumerated, the legislature shall have all powers necessary to the legislature of a free state, including the power to enact reasonable and appropriate laws to guarantee the continuity and effective operation of state and local government by providing emergency procedure for use only during periods of disaster emergency. A disaster emergency is defined as a period when damage or injury to persons or property in this state, caused by enemy attack, is of such magnitude that a state of martial law is declared to exist in the state, and a disaster emergency is declared by the chief executive officer of the United States and the chief executive officer of this state, and the legislature has not declared by joint resolution that the disaster emergency is ended. Upon the declaration of a disaster emergency the chief executive of the state shall within seven days call a special session of the legislature which shall remain in continuous session during the disaster emergency, and may recess from time to time for [not] more than three days.[1]


  • Amended on November 8, 1960.

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Number and Qualifications of Members; Single-Member Districts; Reapportionment

A. Senators shall not be less than twenty-five years of age and representatives not less than twenty-one years of age at the time of their election. If any senator or representative permanently removes his residence from or maintains no residence in the district from which he was elected, then he shall be deemed to have resigned and his successor shall be selected as provided in Section 4 of this article. No person shall be eligible to serve in the legislature who, at the time of qualifying, holds any office of trust or profit with the state, county or national governments, except notaries public and officers of the militia who receive no salary.

B. The senate shall be composed of no more than forty-two members elected from single-member districts.

C. The house of representatives shall be composed of no more than seventy members elected from single-member districts.

D. Once following publication of the official report of each federal decennial census hereafter conducted, the legislature may by statute reapportion its membership.[1]


  • Repealed and reenacted on November 2, 1976.

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Terms of Office of Members; Time of Election; Filling of Vacancies

Members of the legislature shall be elected as follows: those senators from Bernalillo, Chaves, Curry, DeBaca, Grant, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Sandoval, San Juan, San Miguel, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union and Valencia counties for a term of six years starting January 1, 1961, and after serving such terms shall be elected for a term of four years thereafter; those senators from all other counties for the terms of four years, and members of the house of representatives for a term of two years. They shall be elected on the day provided by law for holding the general election of state officers or representatives in congress. If a vacancy occurs in the office of senator or member of the house of representatives, for any reason, the county commissioners of the county wherein the vacancy occurs shall fill such vacancy by appointment.

Such legislative appointments as provided in this section shall be for a term ending on December 31, subsequent to the next succeeding general election.[1]


  • Amended on September 15, 1953.
  • Amended on November 8, 1960.

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Time and Length of Sessions; Items Considered in Even-Numbered Years

A. Each regular session of the legislature shall begin annually at 12:00 noon on the third Tuesday of January. Every regular session of the legislature convening during an odd-numbered year shall remain in session not to exceed sixty days, and every regular session of the legislature convening during an even-numbered year shall remain in session not to exceed thirty days. No special session of the legislature shall exceed thirty days.

B. Every regular session of the legislature convening during an even-numbered year shall consider only the following:

(1) budgets, appropriations and revenue bills;
(2) bills drawn pursuant to special messages of the governor; and
(3) bills of the last previous regular session vetoed by the governor.[1]


  • Amended on November 5, 1940.
  • Amended on November 5, 1946.
  • Amended on November 3, 1964.

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Special Session; Extraordinary Session

Special sessions of the legislature may be called by the governor, but no business shall be transacted except such as relates to the objects specified in this proclamation. Provided, however, that when three-fifths of the members elected to the house of representatives and three-fifths of the members elected to the senate shall have certified to the governor of the state of New Mexico that in their opinion an emergency exists in the affairs of the state of New Mexico, it shall thereupon be the duty of said governor and mandatory upon him, within five days from the receipt of such certificate or certificates, to convene said legislature in extraordinary session for all purposes; and in the event said governor shall, within said time, Sundays excluded, fail or refuse to convene said legislature as aforesaid, then and in that event said legislature may convene itself in extraordinary session, as if convened in regular session, for all purposes, provided that such extraordinary self-convened session shall be limited to a period of thirty days, unless at the expiration of said period, there shall be pending an impeachment trial of some officer of the state government, in which event the legislature shall be authorized to remain in session until such trial shall have been completed.[1]


  • Amended on November 2, 1948.

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Judge of Election and Qualification of Members; Quorum

Each house shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its own members. A majority of either house shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a less number may effect a temporary organization, adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members.[1]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Call to Order; Presiding Officers

The senate shall be called to order in the hall of the senate by the lieutenant governor. The senate shall elect a president pro tempore who shall preside in the absence of the lieutenant governor and shall serve until the next session of the legislature. The house of representatives shall be called to order in the hall of said house by the secretary of state. He shall preside until the election of a speaker, who shall be the member receiving the highest number of votes for that office.[1]

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Selection and Compensation of Officers and Employees

The legislature shall select its own officers and employees and fix their compensation. Each house shall have one chaplain, one chief clerk and one sergeant at arms; and there shall be one assistant chief clerk and one assistant sergeant at arms for each house; and each house may employ such enrolling clerks, reading clerks, stenographers, janitors and such subordinate employees in addition to those enumerated, as they may reasonably require and their compensation shall be fixed by the said legislature at the beginning of each session.[1]


  • Amended on November 2, 1948.

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Compensation of Members

Each member of the legislature shall receive:

A. per diem at the internal revenue service per diem rate for the city of Santa Fe for each day's attendance during each session of the legislature and the internal revenue service standard mileage rate for each mile traveled in going to and returning from the seat of government by the usual traveled route, once each session as defined by Article 4, Section 5 of this constitution;

B. per diem expense and mileage at the same rates as provided in Subsection A of this section for service at meetings required by legislative committees established by the legislature to meet in the interim between sessions; and

C. no other compensation, perquisite or allowance.[1] |}


  • Amended on November 7, 1944.
  • Amended on September 15, 1953.
  • Amended on November 2, 1971.
  • Amended on November 2, 1982.
  • Amended on November 5, 1996.

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Rules of Procedure; Contempt or Disorderly Conduct; Expulsion of Members

Each house may determine the rules of its procedure, punish its members or others for contempt or disorderly behavior in its presence and protect its members against violence; and may, with the concurrence of two-thirds of its members, expel a member, but not a second time for the same act. Punishment for contempt or disorderly behavior or by expulsion shall not be a bar to criminal prosecution.[1]

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Public Sessions; Journals

All sessions of each house shall be public. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings and the yeas and nays on any questions shall, at the request of one-fifth of the members present, be entered thereon. The original thereof shall be filed with the secretary of state at the close of the session, and shall be printed and published under his authority.[1]

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Privileges and Immunities

Members of the legislature shall, in all cases except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of their respective houses, and on going to and returning from the same. And they shall not be questioned in any other place for any speech or debate or for any vote cast in either house.[1]

Section 14

Text of Section 14:


Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, Sundays excepted; nor to any other place than that where the two houses are sitting; and on the day of the final adjournment they shall adjourn at twelve o'clock, noon.[1]

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Laws to Be Passed by Bill; Alteration of Bill; Enacting Clause; Printing and Reading of Bill

No law shall be passed except by bill, and no bill shall be so altered or amended on its passage through either house as to change its original purpose. The enacting clause of all bills shall be: "Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of New Mexico." Any bill may originate in either house. No bill, except bills to provide for the public peace, health and safety, and the codification or revision of the laws, shall become a law unless it has been printed, and read three different times in each house, not more than two of which readings shall be on the same day, and the third of which shall be in full.[1]

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Subject of Bill in Title; Appropriation Bills

The subject of every bill shall be clearly expressed in its title, and no bill embracing more than one subject shall be passed except general appropriation bills and bills for the codification or revision of the laws; but if any subject is embraced in any act which is not expressed in its title, only so much of the act as is not so expressed shall be void. General appropriation bills shall embrace nothing but appropriations for the expense of the executive, legislative and judiciary departments, interest, sinking fund, payments on the public debt, public schools and other expenses required by existing laws; but if any such bill contain any other matter, only so much thereof as is hereby forbidden to be placed therein shall be void. All other appropriations shall be made by separate bills.[1]

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Passage of Bills

No bill shall be passed except by a vote of a majority of the members present in each house, nor unless on its final passage a vote be taken by yeas and nays, and entered on the journal.[1]

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Amendment of Statutes

No law shall be revised or amended, or the provisions thereof extended by reference to its title only; but each section thereof as revised, amended or extended shall be set out in full.

Notwithstanding the foregoing or any other provision of this constitution, the legislature, in any law imposing a tax or taxes, may define the amount on, in respect to or by which such tax or taxes are imposed or measured, by reference to any provision of the laws of the United States as the same may be or become effective at any time or from time to time, and may prescribe exceptions or modifications to any such provision.[1]


  • Amended on November 3, 1964.

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Introduction of Bills

Time limitation on the introduction of bills at any session of the legislature shall be established by law.[1]


  • Amended on November 8, 1932.
  • Amended on November 8, 1960.

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Enrollment, Engrossment and Signing of Bills

Immediately after the passage of any bill or resolution, it shall be enrolled and engrossed, and read publicly in full in each house, and thereupon shall be signed by the presiding officers of each house in open session, and the fact of such reading and signing shall be entered on the journal. No interlineation or erasure in a signed bill, shall be effective, unless certified thereon in express terms by the presiding officer of each house quoting the words interlined or erased, nor unless the fact of the making of such interlineation or erasure be publicly announced in each house and entered on the journal.[1]

Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Alteration or Theft of Bill

Any person who shall, without lawful authority, materially change or alter, or make away with, any bill pending in or passed by the legislature, shall be deemed guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less than one year nor more than five years.[1]

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Governor's Approval or Veto of Bills

Every bill passed by the legislature shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the governor for approval. If he approves, he shall sign it, and deposit it with the secretary of state; otherwise, he shall return it to the house in which it originated, with his objections, which shall be entered at large upon the journal; and such bill shall not become a law unless thereafter approved by two-thirds of the members present and voting in each house by yea and nay vote entered upon its journal. Any bill not returned by the governor within three days, Sundays excepted, after being presented to him, shall become a law, whether signed by him or not, unless the legislature by adjournment prevent such return. Every bill presented to the governor during the last three days of the session shall be approved by him within twenty days after the adjournment and shall be by him immediately deposited with the secretary of state. Unless so approved and signed by him such bill shall not become a law. The governor may in like manner approve or disapprove any part or parts, item or items, of any bill appropriating money, and such parts or items approved shall become a law, and such as are disapproved shall be void unless passed over his veto, as herein provided.[1]


  • Amended on September 15, 1953.

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Effective Date of Law; Emergency Acts

Laws shall go into effect ninety days after the adjournment of the legislature enacting them, except general appropriation laws, which shall go into effect immediately upon their passage and approval. Any act necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety, shall take effect immediately upon its passage and approval, provided it be passed by two-thirds vote of each house and such necessity be stated in a separate section.[1]

Section 24

Text of Section 24:

Local or Special Laws

The legislature shall not pass local or special laws in any of the following cases: regulating county, precinct or district affairs; the jurisdiction and duties of justices of the peace, police magistrates and constables; the practice in courts of justice; the rate of interest on money; the punishment for crimes and misdemeanors; the assessment or collection of taxes or extending the time of collection thereof; the summoning and impaneling of jurors; the management of public schools; the sale or mortgaging of real estate of minors or others under disability; the change of venue in civil or criminal cases. Nor in the following cases: granting divorces; laying out, opening, altering or working roads or highways, except as to state roads extending into more than one county, and military roads; vacating roads, town plats, streets, alleys or public grounds; locating or changing county seats, or changing county lines, except in creating new counties; incorporating cities, towns or villages, or changing or amending the charter of any city, town or village; the opening or conducting of any election or designating the place of voting; declaring any person of age; chartering or licensing ferries, toll bridges, toll roads, banks, insurance companies or loan and trust companies; remitting fines, penalties, forfeitures or taxes; or refunding money paid into the state treasury, or relinquishing, extending or extinguishing, in whole or in part, any indebtedness or liability of any person or corporation, to the state or any municipality therein; creating, increasing or decreasing fees, percentages or allowances of public officers; changing the laws of descent; granting to any corporation, association or individual the right to lay down railroad tracks or any special or exclusive privilege, immunity or franchise, or amending existing charters for such purpose; changing the rules of evidence in any trial or inquiry; the limitation of actions; giving effect to any informal or invalid deed, will or other instrument; exempting property from taxation; restoring to citizenship any person convicted of an infamous crime; the adoption or legitimizing of children; changing the name of persons or places; and the creation, extension or impairment of liens. In every other case where a general law can be made applicable, no special law shall be enacted.[1]

Section 25

Text of Section 25:

Validating Unauthorized Official Acts; Fines Against Officers, Etc

No law shall be enacted legalizing the unauthorized or invalid act of any officer, remitting any fine, penalty or judgment against any officer or validating any illegal use of public funds.[1]

Section 26

Text of Section 26:

Grant of Franchise or Privilege

The legislature shall not grant to any corporation or person, any rights, franchises, privileges, immunities or exemptions, which shall not, upon the same terms and under like conditions, inure equally to all persons or corporations; no exclusive right, franchise, privilege or immunity shall be granted by the legislature or any municipality in this state.[1]

Section 27

Text of Section 27:

Extra or Increased Compensation for Officers, Contractors, Etc

No law shall be enacted giving any extra compensation to any public officer, servant, agent or contractor after services are rendered or contract made; nor shall the compensation of any officer be increased or diminished during his term of office, except as otherwise provided in this constitution.[1]

Section 28

Text of Section 28:

Appointment of Present and Former Legislators to Office; Interest of Legislators in Contracts

No member of the legislature shall, during the term for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office in the state, nor shall he within one year thereafter be appointed to any civil office created, or the emoluments of which were increased during such term; nor shall any member of the legislature during the term for which he was elected nor within one year thereafter, be interested directly or indirectly in any contract with the state or any municipality thereof, which was authorized by any law passed during such term.[1]

Section 29

Text of Section 29:

Laws Creating Debts

No law authorizing indebtedness shall be enacted which does not provide for levying a tax sufficient to pay the interest, and for the payment at maturity of the principal.[1]

Section 30

Text of Section 30:

Payments from Treasury to Be Upon Appropriations and Warrant

Except interest or other payments on the public debt, money shall be paid out of the treasury only upon appropriations made by the legislature. No money shall be paid therefrom except upon warrant drawn by the proper officer. Every law making an appropriation shall distinctly specify the sum appropriated and the object to which it is to be applied.[1]

Section 31

Text of Section 31:

Appropriations for Charitable, Educational, Etc., Purposes

No appropriation shall be made for charitable, educational or other benevolent purposes to any person, corporation, association, institution or community, not under the absolute control of the state, but the legislature may, in its discretion, make appropriations for the charitable institutions and hospitals, for the maintenance of which annual appropriations were made by the legislative assembly of nineteen hundred and nine.[1]

Section 32

Text of Section 32:

Remission of Debts Due State or Municipalities

No obligation or liability of any person, association or corporation held or owned by or owing to the state, or any municipal corporation therein, shall ever be exchanged, transferred, remitted, released, postponed or in any way diminished by the legislature, nor shall any such obligation or liability be extinguished except by the payment thereof into the proper treasury, or by proper proceeding in court. Provided that the obligations created by Special Session Laws 1955, Chapter 5, running to the state or any of its agencies, remaining unpaid on the effective date of this amendment are void.[1]


  • Amended on November 4, 1958.

Section 33

Text of Section 33:

Prosecutions under Repealed Laws

No person shall be exempt from prosecution and punishment for any crime or offenses against any law of this state by reason of the subsequent repeal of such law.[1]

Section 34

Text of Section 34:

Change of Rights or Procedure in Pending Cases

No act of the legislature shall affect the right or remedy of either party, or change the rules of evidence or procedure, in any pending case.[1]

Section 35

Text of Section 35:

Power and Procedure for Impeachment and Trial

The sole power of impeachment shall be vested in the house of representatives, and a concurrence of a majority of all the members elected shall be necessary to the proper exercise thereof. All impeachments shall be tried by the senate. When sitting for that purpose the senators shall be under oath or affirmation to do justice according to the law and the evidence. When the governor or lieutenant governor is on trial, the chief justice of the supreme court shall preside. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the senators elected.[1]

Section 36

Text of Section 36:

Officers Subject to Impeachment

All state officers and judges of the district court shall be liable to impeachment for crimes, misdemeanors and malfeasance in office, but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit, or to vote under the laws of this state; but such officer or judge, whether convicted or acquitted shall, nevertheless, be liable to prosecution, trial, judgment, punishment or civil action, according to law. No officer shall exercise any powers or duties of his office after notice of his impeachment is served upon him until he is acquitted.[1]

Section 37

Text of Section 37:

Railroad Passes

It shall not be lawful for a member of the legislature to use a pass, or to purchase or receive transportation over any railroad upon terms not open to the general public; and the violation of this section shall work a forfeiture of the office.[1]

Section 38

Text of Section 38:


The legislature shall enact laws to prevent trusts, monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade.[1]

Section 39

Text of Section 39:

"Bribery" and "solicitation" defined

Any member of the legislature who shall vote or use his influence for or against any matter pending in either house in consideration of any money, thing of value or promise thereof, shall be deemed guilty of bribery; and any member of the legislature or other person who shall directly or indirectly offer, give or promise any money, thing of value, privilege or personal advantage, to any member of the legislature to influence him to vote or work for or against any matter pending in either house; or any member of the legislature who shall solicit from any person or corporation any money, thing of value or personal advantage for his vote or influence as such member shall be deemed guilty of solicitation of bribery.[1]

Section 40

Text of Section 40:

Penalty for Bribery

Any person convicted of any of the offenses mentioned in Sections thirty-seven and thirty-nine hereof, shall be deemed guilty of a felony and upon conviction shall be punished by fine of not more than one thousand dollars [($1,000)] or by imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years.[1]

Section 41

Text of Section 41:

Compelling Testimony in Bribery Cases

Any person may be compelled to testify in any lawful investigation or judicial proceeding against another charged with bribery or solicitation of bribery as defined herein, and shall not be permitted to withhold his testimony on the ground that it might incriminate or subject him to public infamy; but such testimony shall not be used against him in any judicial proceeding against him except for perjury in giving such testimony.[1]

Section 42

Text of Section 42:

Hearings on Confirmation of Gubernatorial Appointments

The senate, in exercising its advice and consent responsibilities over gubernatorial appointments, may by resolution designate the members of an appropriate standing committee to operate as an interim committee during the interim between legislative sessions for the purpose of conducting hearings and taking testimony on the confirmation or rejection of gubernatorial appointments. Recommendations of the committee shall be submitted to the senate for action at the next succeeding legislative session. Members of such committee shall be paid per diem and mileage for attendance at such hearings at the same rates as legislators are paid for attendance at joint legislative interim committee meetings. The governor shall submit all appointments requiring senate confirmation to such committee within thirty days after the date of appointment.[1]


  • Added on November 4, 1986.

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