In a speech on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Michael Sanchez of Belen criticized party chairman Sam Bregman for recent remarks about Sen. John Arthur Smith of Deming, who's in charge of a committee that handles budget issues.
At issue is a proposal to boost payouts from a state permanent fund to provide more money for early childhood education. The measure died last year when Smith didn't schedule it for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee.
Bregman said during a news conference last week in Albuquerque that the constitutional amendment was a top Democratic priority this session. He also said Smith should considering switching parties if he didn't allow a committee vote on the proposal. If Smith continues to bottle up the education amendment and remains a Democrat, Bregman said, the senator could face a primary challenge if he runs for re-election in 2016.Advertisement
Bregman isn't retreating from his comments. “Quote… "I don't regret one thing I said and I still stand by it and believe it," Bregman said. "This is a Democratic core issue that is important to Democrats across the state and he should at least allow it for a vote."
Smith said he's concerned that increasing payouts from the Land Grant Permanent Fund would slow its growth from investment earnings, potentially leaving less money in the future to meet the needs of the state's population.