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Immigrant drivers licenses to come up in New Mexico special session

The battle to stop illegal immigrants from receiving drivers licenses will continue this year. Gov. Susana Martinez said Monday that the controversial issue will be considered during a special session this year where legislators will also decide on redistricting for congressional and state House and Senate districts.

The issue of whether New Mexico should allow those in the country illegally to receive New Mexico drivers licenses was one of the most hotly contested and controversial issues during this year’s session. The drivers license issue failed because the House and Senate could not come together to agree on versions of the legislation.

The debate on the legislation took up many hours in both the House and Senate.

The Senate made significant changes to the legislation that originated in the House. The changes were so significant that Martinez, who had pushed for the bill throughout the session and used it as a major campaign promise the year before, said she would veto the legislation if the Senate’s version passed the House.

The House and Senate were unable to come up with a compromise legislation before time ran out during the session. Martinez vowed to continue the battle to amend the law throughout her term.

Until Monday it was not clear if Martinez would call for a special session to deal with driver’s licenses as well as redistricting.

The Legislature meets in the fall every ten years to deal with redistricting. The regular legislative session, which runs from January through March in odd-numbered years, is too early for the numbers from the decennial census to be processed.

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