Redistricting And Modernizing The Legislature

League of Women Voters of Los Alamos

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico is advocating for three important constitutional amendments during the current legislative session.  All of the bills must pass both the House and Senate first.  Then they will be put on the 2024 ballot.    

HJR1 Independent Redistricting Commission, Constitutional Amendment

The first bill is HJR1 (House Joint Resolution 1), which calls for the creation of the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC).  At present the NM Constitution gives the legislature the responsibility for redistricting every 10 years.  Here is a very brief summary of the bill:  If passed by voters in 2024, following the decennial census the State Ethics Commission will appoint nine commissioners from a pool of applicants, striving to achieve geographic, racial, and gender balance among the appointees.  The chair will be a retired district court judge, appellate court judge, or justice of the Supreme Court. 

The bill continues: “The redistricting commission shall develop district plans for congressional districts, state legislative districts, and other districted state offices following each federal decennial census.”  The commission would be required to follow the traditional redistricting guidelines and would further be forbidden from considering partisan data or incumbent addresses.  Following a period for public review, comment, and possible revision, the commission would file the plans with the Secretary of State.

HJR2 Legislative Session Changes, Constitutional Amendment

Currently the regular legislative session in odd-numbered years is 60 days long.  However, in even-numbered years it is only 30 days long and the legislators are limited to considering fiscal matters; bills recommended by the governor; and bills passed during the previous regular session that were vetoed by the governor.  HJR2 would make all legislative sessions 60 days long with a 5-day recess after the first 30 days.  It would allow consideration of all subjects during each regular legislative session, and would allow pending legislation to be continued between regular legislative sessions.

HJR8 Legislative Salaries, Constitutional Amendment

HJR8 would allow for the provision of legislative salaries and would create a commission on legislative salaries to establish, adjust, and limit the salaries of the legislators.  

New Mexico is now the only state that does not pay its legislators.  The lack of salary skews the candidate pool to those who can afford to work without pay. 

To read any of the bills in full, log on to, click on “legislation” and fill in the number of the bill.