New Mexico State Senate

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New Mexico State Senate

Seal of New Mexico.gif
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 15, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Mary Kay Papen, (D)
Majority Leader:   Michael Sanchez (D)
Minority Leader:   Stuart Ingle, (R)
Members:  42
   Democratic Party (24)
Republican Party (18)
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art IV, Section 3, New Mexico Constitution
Salary:   $0/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (42 seats)
Next election:  November 8, 2016 (42 seats)
Redistricting:  New Mexico legislature has control.
The New Mexico State Senate is the upper house of the New Mexico Legislature. It consists of 42 members and each member represents an average of 49,028 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 43,311 residents.[2] In odd-numbered years, state senators meet 60 days; in even-numbered years, they meet 30 days.

All seats are up for election every four years and are not subject to term limits. The next election is in 2012.


Article IV of the New Mexico Constitution establishes when the New Mexico State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 5 of Article IV states that the Legislature is to convene its annual regular session on the third Tuesday of January. In odd-numbered years, the Legislature is to be in session for no longer than sixty days. In even-numbered years, the Legislature is to be in session for no longer than thirty days. In even-numbered years, the Legislature is limited to dealing with budgetary matters, bills that deal with issues raised by special messages of the Governor of New Mexico, and bills vetoed in the previous session by the Governor.

Section 6 of Article IV allows the Governor of New Mexico to call special sessions of the Legislature. Section 6 also allows the Legislature to meet in special session when three-fifths of each house petition the Governor with a request for a special session. Special sessions are not to exceed thirty days in length.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 15 to March 16.

Major issues

Education is expected to be at the forefront of the legislature's 51st session. Other major issues include solvency of the state's public retirement system, tax cuts for state businesses, and tougher anti-DWI laws.[3]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 17 through February 16.

Major issues

In their 30-day session the legislature considered drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, voter identification, business income tax, ethics reform, and defining homeowner rights in foreclosure proceedings.[4]

Gov. Susana Martinez (R) watched as the state legislature ended its session by rejecting a bill that would have repealed the law allowing drivers licenses to be issued to people without Social Security numbers. It was the third time she has tried to undo the law. The bill was initially passed by the House but defeated in the Senate. The Senate instead passed a measure shortening how long the licenses are valid and imposing harsher penalties on those committing fraud.[5]


In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 18 through March 19. [6] As of late July, a special session will be scheduled for early September, however, a date has not been confirmed by Governor Susana Martinez. As of late July, issues on the agenda include:[7]

  • Fireworks use and sale ban in very dry years
  • A measure giving in-state companies an advantage when bidding for contracts
  • A ban on issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants

The 45 calendar days that the New Mexico Legislature was in session during 2011 is tied with Utah, Wyoming, and Arkansas for the shortest legislative session in the country.[8]


In 2010, the Senate was in regular session from January 19 to February 18. Additionally, the Senate convened a special session from March 1 to March 4.[9]



See also: New Mexico State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of New Mexico State Senate were held in New Mexico on November 6, 2012. A total of 42 seats were up for election. Every four years all seats are up for re-election.

The signature filing deadline was February 14 2012.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


Article 4, Section 3 of the New Mexico Constitution states: 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.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures

If there is a vacancy in the Senate, the Board of County Commissioners in the county representing the vacant seat must appoint a replacement. There are no deadlines set by Article IV, Section 4 of the New Mexico Constitution which governs legislative vacancies. The appointed replacement serves for the remainder of the unfilled term[10].


See also: Redistricting in New Mexico

The New Mexico Legislature is responsible for redistricting. In 2011, it formed an 18-member interim redistricting committee to make recommendations for the actual redistricting process in the Legislature.

2010 census

New Mexico received its local census data on March 15, 2011. The state grew 13.2 percent from 2000 to 2010, with notable growth in its most populous cities; Albuquerque grew by 21.7 percent, Las Cruces grew by 31.4 percent, Rio Rancho grew by 69.1 percent, Santa Fe grew by 9.2 percent, and Roswell grew by 6.8 percent.[11]

At the time of redistricting, Democrats controlled the Legislature while the Governor, Susana Martinez was a Republican. The interim committee reviewed eight House maps and nine Senate maps before the special redistricting session of the Legislature began on September 6, 2011. On September 21, the Senate passed a map on party lines, with the House following the next day. Gov. Martinez vetoed the maps on October 7, leaving a court to resolve the process. By the time new maps were passed, $8 million had been spent.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

New Mexico legislators assume office January 1st.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 24
     Republican Party 18
Total 42


The Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico is the presiding officer of the Senate and in that capacity is referred to as President of the Senate. However, the Lt. Gov can only vote in the case of a tie.

The Senate Committees' Committee exercises leadership and administrative control of the Senate. The committee is chaired by the president pro tempore and is made up of majority and minority leaders.[12][13]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, New Mexico State Senate
Office Representative Party
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Mary Kay Papen Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Floor Leader Michael Sanchez Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Whip Timothy M. Keller Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Floor Leader Stuart Ingle Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Whip William Payne Ends.png Republican

List of current members

District Representative Party
1 William Sharer Ends.png Republican
2 Steven Neville Ends.png Republican
3 John Pinto Electiondot.png Democratic
4 George Munoz Electiondot.png Democratic
5 Richard Martinez Electiondot.png Democratic
6 Carlos Cisneros Electiondot.png Democratic
7 John Patrick Woods Ends.png Republican
8 Pete Campos Electiondot.png Democratic
9 John Sapien Electiondot.png Democratic
10 John Ryan Ends.png Republican
11 Linda Lopez Electiondot.png Democratic
12 Jerry Ortiz y Pino Electiondot.png Democratic
13 Bill B. O'Neill Electiondot.png Democratic
14 Michael Padilla Electiondot.png Democratic
15 Daniel Ivey-Soto Electiondot.png Democratic
16 Cisco McSorley Electiondot.png Democratic
17 Tim Keller Electiondot.png Democratic
18 Lisa Torraco Ends.png Republican
19 Sue Beffort Ends.png Republican
20 William Payne Ends.png Republican
21 Mark Moores Ends.png Republican
22 Benny J. Shendo Jr. Electiondot.png Democratic
23 Sander Rue Ends.png Republican
24 Nancy Rodriguez Electiondot.png Democratic
25 Peter Wirth Electiondot.png Democratic
26 Jacob Candelaria Electiondot.png Democratic
27 Stuart Ingle Ends.png Republican
28 Howie Morales Electiondot.png Democratic
29 Michael Sanchez Electiondot.png Democratic
30 Clemente Sanchez Electiondot.png Democratic
31 Joseph Cervantes Electiondot.png Democratic
32 Cliff R. Pirtle Ends.png Republican
33 Bill Burt Ends.png Republican
34 Ron Griggs Ends.png Republican
35 John Arthur Smith Electiondot.png Democratic
36 Lee S. Cotter Ends.png Republican
37 William P. Soules Electiondot.png Democratic
38 Mary Kay Papen Electiondot.png Democratic
39 Phil Griego Electiondot.png Democratic
40 Craig W. Brandt Ends.png Republican
41 Carroll Leavell Ends.png Republican
42 Gay Kernan Ends.png Republican

Senate Standing Committees

The New Mexico Senate has 9 standing committees:

External links