On Dec. 5, just a block from the state capitol, the trial began to determine the shape of New Mexico’s new legislative districts. Redistricting actually begins with the Legislature, which approved several plans last spring; however, Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed most of them. Thus begins what may prove to be an arduous court battle—one that, in 2001, cost taxpayers upwards of $3 million. Of that, $653,700 went to the legal team that defended the Legislature’s plans. That may sound like a lot, but in light of the whopping $9.6 million the state’s Risk Management Division—part of the General Services Department—spends to defend state employees and agencies, it’s peanuts. In September and October of this year, the state allocated approximately $6.2 million to renew existing legal contracts, plus another $3.4 million in new contracts. Since the fall, $2.8 million of the total has been spent—not too shabby for a few months’ work. For an interactive listing of all state legal contractors and campaign contribution data, scroll down.
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