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New Mexico County Term Extension Amendment, Amendment 2 (2010)

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The New Mexico County Term Extension Amendment was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of New Mexico as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated. Defeatedd The measure would extend the existing term limits county officials in the state. Under the proposal, also known as Senate Joint Resolution 5, county officials could not run for office right away after completion of a second term.[1]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Official election results follow:

Amendment 2 (County Term Extension)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No431,98982.6%
Yes 90,932 17.4%

Results via New Mexico Secretary of State.

Text of measure

The ballot read as follows:

Proposing to amend Article 10, Section 2 of the Constitution of New Mexico to allow county officials to serve three consectutive terms instead of two.

[ ] For

[ ] Against[2]

Summary

The summary of the proposed amendment read:[3]

A joint resolution proposing to amend Article 10, Section 2 of the Constitution of New Mexico to allow county officials to serve three consecutive terms instead of two.

Fiscal note

The fiscal note for the constitutional amendment, according to the New Mexico Legislature follows:[4]

The Secretary of State, as the Chief Elections Officer is mandated to publish all constitutional amendments in both English and Spanish in a newspaper in every county statewide. The cost for the 2008 General Election was $520,000 for five constitutional amendments. The cost breakdown is estimated at $104,000 per constitutional amendment.

Constitutional changes

The measure was proposed to amend Section 10 of Article 2 of the New Mexico Constitution to read:

A. In every county all elected officials shall serve four-year terms, subject to the provisions of Subsection B of this section.
B. In those counties that prior to 1992 have not had four-year terms for elected officials, the assessor, sheriff and probate judge shall be elected to four-year terms and the treasurer and clerk shall be elected to two-year terms in the first election following the adoption of this amendment. In subsequent elections, the treasurer and clerk shall be elected to four-year terms.
C. To provide for staggered county commission terms, in counties with three county commissioners, the terms of no more than two commissioners shall expire in the same year; and in counties with five county commissioners, the terms of no more than three commissioners shall expire in the same year.
D. All county officers, after having served three consecutive four-year terms, shall be ineligible to hold any county office for two years thereafter.

Support

Arguments

  • Do-A Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins was in favor of the measure, stating that the extensions of term limits would help officials gain experience in their jobs. Some positions, according to Ellins, required specialized training, thus the longer terms would help those positions and their quality. Ellins stated that position such as sheriff fit this description of someone who needed specialized training, "You probably need to keep good county commissioners in there, too, but I think there are more people you can find to run for county commission. Those are easier offices to find candidates for than the sheriff.[5]
  • In an argument suggested by the New Mexico Legislative Council Service, proponents said that extending time allowed for adequate elected officials to remain in office longer.[6]

Opposition

Opponents

  • Do-a Ana County commission candidate John Zimmerman was against the measure, stating, "I'm adamantly opposed to three terms; I think it should be left to two. I think people get too stagnated and entrenched, and I think they think they have too much power."[5]

Arguments

  • Las Cruces resident Patricia Garcia, in an interview with the Las Cruces Sun-News, stated that term limits were essential if something wasn't working or if change was needed. Garcia stated, "I just think that 12 years is a long time."[5]
  • In an argument suggested by the New Mexico Legislative Council Service, county officials could fall in with special interest groups, and could take advantage of incumbency.[6]

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of New Mexico ballot measures, 2010

Opposition

  • In an editorial by Las Cruces Sun-News, the publication stated its opposition to Amendment 2, claiming, ."..we recognize there is always a slowdown whenever a new leader takes over, but we trust that the long-time staff members will keep county departments running smoothly during the transition, and will provide the institutional knowledge necessary for any successful organization. Eight years in office would seem like plenty of time to make whatever changes or reforms an office holder deems necessary."[7]
  • The Valencia County News Bulletin, in an editorial stated about the measure, "The two, four-year term system, which allows an official to return after two years out of office, seems to best create that balance while opening the door to new ideas and new candidates. There is no compelling reason to change the system. The News-Bulletin recommends a no vote."[8]

Path to the ballot

The measure was first introduced to the New Mexico State Senate on January 20, 2010, where it was approved with a vote of 27-14 on February 13, 2010. The measure was then sent to the New Mexico House of Representatives, where it was approved with a vote of 51-10 on February 18, 2010. According to Article XIX of the New Mexico Constitution, it takes a majority vote of all members of both houses of the New Mexico State Legislature to refer a proposed amendment to the ballot. New Mexico is one of ten states that allows a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a majority vote in one session of the state's legislature.[9]

See also

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External links

References