Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Senate Action on SB9 Delayed Again

I'm beginning to think that nobody really wants to deal with this bill.

I'm talking, of course, about SB 9, Sen. Peter Wirth's bill that would make it harder for ticket-prone teenagers toget driver's licenses. As my story in today's New Mexican noted, Republicans want to tack on amendment to outlaw the issuing of driver's licenses to undocumented people.

That would be an end run around the committee process and would would spark an instant and undoubtedly lengthy floor fight. Wirth said that would be unconstitutional because such an amendment would change the intent of the original bill.

Early this afternoon Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez announced that SB9 would be one of the five pieces of legislation heard today. However, when it came time for the bill, Sanchez announced the would be going back to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Wirth told reporters afterwards that he had planned to introduce a floor substitute. Earlier in the day there had been a little spat about another senator introducing a floor substitute.

Wirth said the substitute basically just cleans up his original bill and is not an attempt to get around the immigration issue. But Senate Republican Whip Bill Payne told reporters he thinks that sending the bill back to committee would be a way to let the bill die quietly without a vote. Wirth insists that's not the case.

Stay tuned.