Lawless lawmakers to return to Santa Fe

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — Here's a riddle.

What do you call a lawmaker who doesn't propose any laws?

State representatives and senators can start filing legislation next Monday. In all, 1,078 house bills were proposed during the last legislative term, but two representatives didn't have their name on any of them or any other legislation.

Rep. Ernest H. Chavez (D - Albuquerque) and Rep. William "Bill" Gray (R - Artesia) sit on opposite sides of the aisle in the New Mexico House, but have that unusual trait in common.

Neither sponsored a single bill, resolution or memorial during their last elected term.

Chavez, who last introduced a piece of legislation in 2009, declined to go on camera for this story but spoke to KRQE News 13 at his South Valley home and said his reasons for not filing a bill the last three sessions are simple.

Chavez says there were already too many bills being introduced, taking up too much time and he didn't want to add to that. He says he plans on breaking the streak in January by introducing some economic development legislation. Chavez won reelection to his fifth full term in a landslide last month.

But what about Gray? He was elected to his fourth term in November without a Democratic opponent. The last time he introduced a bill was in 2007, his first legislative session.

"At that time I was a freshman legislator and it didn't take long to figure out, you're in the minority party so my emphasis should be more in the committees," Gray explained in a phone interview.

Gray says his time is better spent trying to block things he doesn't like instead.

"When you're in the minority party and the majority is trying to get things through, it's normally to the detriment of the minority so we're always playing defense," Gray said.

Despite Democratic control of the state House, Republicans have found plenty of success.

In 2012, 90 bills passed out of the House. 37 of those were sponsored by Republicans. Out of those, 19 were eventually signed into law by Governor Susana Martinez.

There are other state representatives who have occasionally taken a pass on the legislative process.

Outgoing Rep. Shirley Tyler (R - Lovington) only introduced a single memorial, HM 31 (2012) in honor of the Lovington Masonic Lodge, during the last two years. Rep. Eliseo Lee Alcon (D - Milan), declined to sponsor a bill in the most recent session.

Newly chosen House minority leader Donald Bratton (R - Hobbs) used the 2012 session to introduce a memorial opposing memorials. He also introduced five placeholder bills that essentially remained blank.

There are plenty of state representatives who do just the opposite of Gray and Chavez and flood the chamber with bills, memorials and resolutions. Rep. Mimi Stewart (D - Albuquerque) leads her colleagues with 65 pieces of legislation introduced in her last term.

Copyright 2014 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Political Pulse

Did you like this article? Vote it up or down! And don't forget to add your comments below!

Like It
Don't Like It


We welcome your thoughtful comments. Be the first to participate in the discussion. All comments will display your username and avatar.


Add a Comment

Sign in or join now to post a comment. All comments will display your username and avatar.


New Mexico (change)

New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
Offices & Officials

Governor: Susana Martinez
Lieutenant Governor: John Sanchez
Attorney General: Gary King
Secretary of State: Dianna J. Durán

Contacting the White House and Congress

Click the links below to get in touch with your elected officials.