Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, described Saturday's Senate floor as being as quiet as a funeral parlor, quite a change from 60 days of the usual hustle and bustle to get legislation passed.
As Senate minority leader, Ingle wrapped up the 60-day legislative session saying lawmakers got things done, such as the state budget, that needed to be done and other issues that they didn't get to address on the floor will be returned to next session.
"Overall, I think we accomplished quite a bit this session," Ingle said. "On the driver's license problem, I wish we could have gotten something done there. We will try again another time."
Ingle said they passed quite a few bills this year for businesses that will help reduce the tax employers pay for unemployment as well as ones that involved tax credits to attract businesses to the eastern New Mexico and the rest of the state.
He disappointments, however, lie in education despite a $112 million increase to the state's public education fund.
Ingle said he was upset the Legislature did not confirm Hanna Skandera as secretary of the Public Education Department. He is also disappointed in the lack of a resolution for a dwindling state lottery scholarship fund.
"I'm hoping we get extra money for the lottery scholarship fund," Ingle said. "A lot of money goes into that and a lot of money goes out."
He felt the quick fix to use money from the state's Tobacco Settlement Fund to keep the lottery scholarship fund solvent will only last for one year so he hopes they find a permanent solution the next legislative session.
Rep. George Dodge, D-Santa Rosa, said he had his share of disappointments. too, when the Right to Farm Act didn't make it to the floor. But overall he said this session displayed a good example of bipartisanship.
"We passed a lot of good bills out of our committee, such as not allowing people to double dip on water rights." said Dodge, who chairs the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee.
Because Dodge's district includes Roosevelt and Curry counties, he felt the Right to Farm act was essential, an act that would prevent legal action against farmers and dairy producers because of property issues with their neighbors.
"We tried and tried but it just couldn't make it this session," Dodge said. "The very first day (of the next legislative session) we'll introduce it again. It's very important for our dairy farmers and ag folks."
On issues regarding the budget and education, Dodge felt representatives in the House reached across the aisle to take care of what needed to be done.
"I think we did a good job of the budget, we gave our schools more money and we gave a small raise to our state workers and our teachers," he said. "It was a small one but at this point that's all we can do. We took care of education as much as possible. There was something in the budget for everybody."
Dodge was also excited about the tax credits for businesses that were passed, suggesting that it will help attract businesses to New Mexico and also give it the ability to compete with neighboring states.
"In the House, everybody has their issues but I think this was a very bipartisan session as far as the House was concerned," Dodge said. "It was very collegial and I think we did a good job."
Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, says he'll be glad to return back to his home after witnessing what he considered an amazing process as a rookie to the state senate.
Woods also expressed his admiration for Ingle as minority leader.
"The leadership of Stuart Ingle is amazing," Woods said. "He knows the process, he knows what needs to get done."
Woods said he was happy they got some kind of increase in the retirement funds for those who work in education but he says it isn't enough.
"We did take steps to change those funds slightly to become solvent," Woods said. "That was probably the greatest state-wide accomplishment.
Woods said he was mostly infatuated with how tedious the process is of just getting one bill passed.
"That's the part that's amazing about this process, it's a heck of a lot thinking things through," Woods said. "They pick things apart. It can go through two or three committees where they're just picking apart sentences."
Woods felt that bipartisanship is possible with leaders such as Ingle because certain issues have to be addressed so they make that happen.
"It may not be the bill or the law that suits everybody, but it has to get done," Woods said. A guy with integrity like Stuart comes along, everybody sits up and listens. He is so instrumental in accomplishing goals. It's a pleasure to see those legislators work."