Santa Fe New Mexican - Lawmakers in the state House of Representatives passed a plan to redraw boundaries and legislative districts after the legislation barreled through two legislative committees Wednesday. The bill was approved in a 36-34 vote. The sudden movement of House Bill 39 follows days of internal struggle among lawmakers to cobble together the 36 votes necessary to push the bill through the 70-member House. In the span of six hours, the plan passed the House Voters and Elections and Judiciary committees. Both votes were along party lines. The swift movement came after Independent Andrew Nuñez of Hatch appeared to change his mind about supporting the redistricting plan.
With 36 Democrats, 33 Republicans and one Independent (Nuñez), the House had been at a stalemate all week as Nuñez and Democratic Rep. Sandra Jeff opposed all plans to redraw state House district boundaries, creating a 35-to-35 tie. That meant neither side, Democrat nor Republican, had enough votes to push any particular plan.
But Nuñez's switch gave House Speaker Ben Luján the 36 votes needed to run the legislation through the committees on Wednesday, with a discussion on the House floor following Wednesday night. It was unclear why Nuñez changed his mind to support the redistricting plan or what he got in return for that switch. His support for the plan might have cleared a legislative logjam, but it didn't end the intrigue surrounding the legislation. Jeff remained opposed to the plan Wednesday, saying all the changes requested by the Navajo Nation had not been made. But Rep. Ray Begaye, D-Shiprock, also a Navajo lawmaker, said the changes requested didn't come from the Navajo Nation as a whole, as Jeff has said, but from a "certain select few. It's an internal Navajo struggle," said Begaye, who supports the bill. Read full story here: News New Mexico