Laws governing local ballot measures in New Mexico

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Laws Governing Local Ballot Measures

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InitiativeHome ruleGeneral law cityCharter cityPetitionCirculation periodCirculatorPaid circulatorVolunteer circulatorCirculator affidavitSignerValid signatureForged signatureFraudulent signatureInvalid signatureElectronic petition signatureLegislative tamperingRegistered voter
Approximately 15 cities in New Mexico have an initiative process for local ballot measures.

This article sets out the laws governing local ballot measures in New Mexico. It explains:

  • Which local units of government make the initiative process available to residents.
  • How and whether local units of government, including school districts, can refer local ballot measures (such as school bond propositions) to the ballot.

Types of local government

Ballot Law Portal
Laws Governing Ballot Measures

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments[1] shows that, as of September of 2012, local government in New Mexico consists of:

136 General Purpose units, including:

  • 33 Counties
  • 103 Cities, towns, and villages. Municipalities may incorporate as cities, towns, or villages, but these designations do not significantly affect the legal status of municipalities.

718 Special Purpose units, including:

  • 622 Special Districts
  • 96 Independent School Districts

Further classifications:

  • Home rule charter, adopted pursuant to NM Const. Article X, Section 6 and the Municipal Charter Act, of which there are 11. They are Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Clovis, Gallup, Grants, Hobbs, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Rio Rancho, and Santa Fe. Los Alamos is consolidated with Los Alamos county and operates under a charter as a city-county government.
  • Silver City continues to be governed by a historic territorial charter.
  • General law cities, towns, and villages, of which there are 91.

School districts

See also: School bond and tax elections in New Mexico

The New Mexico Constitution guarantees a debt limit and how bonds are issued for school districts. In New Mexico, a public school district can only seek new bonding for the purpose of capital improvements. School districts are limited to seeking bonds limited to six percent of the district's total valuation of property. Also, the New Mexico Constitution guarantees a 20 mill limit on public school districts.

Local recall rules

The recall of local elected government officials in New Mexico is authorized in §9 of Article 10 of the New Mexico Constitution (county officials), in §14 of Article 12 (school officials), and in NMSA 3-14-16 (elected officials in commission-manager municipalities).

For additional detail, see: Laws governing recall in New Mexico

Initiative process availability

The availability of initiative varies depending upon the home rule status and form of government of a city, town, or village. Charter cities, towns, and villages have an initiative process for charter amendments granted by state statute, but individual charters may contain additional requirements. Charters may adopt initiative for ordinances. General law commission-manager cities, towns, and villages have a mandated initiative process provided by state statutes. General law mayor-council cities, towns, and villages do not have broad initiative authority to propose ordinances. However, for limited matters a petition process is granted by state statutes.[2][3]

A guide to local ballot initiatives
Local Ballot Initiatives cover.jpg

Authority

Constitution

There are no explicit constitutional provisions for local initiative. However, charter cities have authority to adopt initiative for ordinances through the municipal home rule provision of New Mexico Constitution, Article VI, Section 6

Statutes

NM Stat. Sections 3-15-1 to 3-15-16 is the Municipal Charter Act. 3-15-16 authorizes charter amendments by initiative. Charters may contain additional requirements.

NM Stat. Section 3-14-18 authorizes initiative for general law commission-manager municipalities.

NM Stat. Section 3-1-5 governs petition and signature requirements generally.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: New Mexico Statutes, Chapter 3

Initiative process features

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Source:Local Ballot Initiatives: How citizens change laws with
clipboards, conversations, and campaigns

Initiative in the top 10 most populated cities

List of Most Populated Cities in New Mexico
City[4] Population City Type Next election
Albuquerque 552,804 Charter 2015
Las Cruces 99,665 Charter N/A
Rio Rancho 89,320 Charter N/A
Santa Fe 68,642 Charter N/A
Roswell 48,546 General law N/A
Farmington 45,256 General law N/A
Clovis 38,776 Charter N/A
Hobbs 34,488 Charter N/A
Alamogordo 31,327 Charter N/A
Carlsbad 26,296 General law N/A

7 of the top 10 most populated cities in New Mexico are governed under a home rule charter. Charter amendment by initiative is required under state law, but charters may set the specific requirements. Charter cities may authorize initiative for ordinances, and 5 of the 7 charter cities below have granted this power. The provisions below mostly come from the specific city charter or code. NM Stat. Section 3-1-5 governs petition requirements generally. Click on the citation links to read the full requirements for the initiative process.



External links

See also

References