Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments

Legislative Planning

Legislative Process


Only legislators may introduce bills in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. After a bill has been drafted and prepared for introduction, it is presented to the Chief Clerk, who assigns it a number. The Reading Clerk reads it twice by number and title along with the name of the principal sponsor. The Presiding Officer orders the bill printed and assigns it to one or more committees for further study. Bills must be introduced by the halfway mark of a session with few exceptions.

Committee Action

Most consideration of legislation in New Mexico is done in committees. The public has the opportunity to testify in favor of or in opposition to a bill in committees. After considering the testimony, the committee can take one of several actions:

a) Recommend to the legislative body that a bill DO PASS, DO PASS AS AMENDED, DO NOT PASS, or refer the bill back to the floor WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

b) Substitute a new and similar bill for the original bill, incorporating changes the committee wishes to make

c) Recommend referral of the bill to another committee

d) Simply do nothing and let the bill die by not reporting it out of committee

Committee reports are subject to adoption by the full House or Senate. When a favorable committee report is adopted, the bill is placed on the calendar which becomes the schedule of business that the House or Senate will consider on a given day. 

Final Passage

When a bill is called for its third reading, members may debate its pros and cons on the chamber floor. Amendments may be added at this stage or the entire bill may be substituted by another bill similar to it. The sponsor of the bill is allowed to close debate by speaking last on the bill. Then a final vote is taken and recorded.

Send to the Other House

If a bill receives a favorable vote, it is sent with a letter of transmittal to the other house where it follows the same procedure. This duplication in our form of government provides a necessary check to ensure that all aspects of the bill have been considered before it is enacted into law.


A bill that is amended in the second house must be sent back to the first house for agreement, this is concurrence. If concurrence is denied, the second house votes on whether to recede or withdraw from its amendment. If the second house fails to recede, the bill is usually sent to a conference committee to work out a version agreeable to both houses. The report of the conference committee must be agreed to by both houses in order for the bill to pass.

Enrolling and Engrossing

When both houses of the legislature have agreed on the final version of the bill, it is enrolled and engrossed which means that the bill is copied very carefully with all of the amendments incorporated. The Presiding Officers of both houses sign the bill and is sent to the Governor for consideration.

Governor's Approval or Veto

The Governor may either sign the bill and it then becomes a law or he/she may veto it which it does not become law unless the legislature overrides the Governor’s veto.

A bill received by the Governor during or after the last three days of a legislative session is automatically vetoed, known as a “pocket veto,” unless the Governor signs the bill within 20 days of the legislature’s adjournment. On the other hand, a bill received by the Governor with more than three days left in the session automatically becomes law even without the Governor’s signature unless he/ she vetoes it. 


Not all laws go into effect at the same time. Some bills carry emergency clauses and become effective as soon as the Governor signs them, some become law 90 days after the legislature adjourns, and others take effect at the start of the next fiscal or calendar year.

Preparing for the Legislative Session

Capital Outlay Process

1. Local Government ICIP Submission

2. Legislative Finance Committee Hearing

3. Executive Capital Outlay Recommendations

4. Legislative Session

5. Capital Outlay Bill Review/EO 2016-006

6.​ Governor Bill Signing Period

7. State Board of Finance Certification/Bond Sale

8. Capital Projects Monitoring System (CPMS)

9. SHARE Budget

10. Grant Agreement 


What is ICIP?

An Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP) is a state-coordinated process that encourages governmental entities to plan for capital improvement projects over a five-year period and requires public input to prioritize sustainable projects and help alleviate emergency situations.

What is the process for ICIP?

During the planning process, government entities review existing plans and inventory to help determine infrastructure and capital needs or updates. Then government entities hold public input meetings to prioritize projects. Then local governments will pass a resolution approving the plan and submit it to the New Mexico Department of Finance & Administration, Local Government Division.

What is the SWNMCOG's role in ICIP?

SWNMCOG provides assistance to all members with the development of ICIP by sponsoring an annual ICIP training and technical assistance through guiding government entities to establish the top five priorities. SWNMCOG is available to present information about the overall ICIP planning process.

Contact Priscilla Lucero for any questions about ICIP at (575) 956-1293 or [email protected]