She thinks so, and to make the point has vetoed the first digit of a $150,000 appropriation, cutting the funding for the program to a third of the amount approved by the legislature. Steve B., knowing me to be a partial veto aficionado, wrote me to ask whether Gov. Martinez can actually do this.
I don’t think so. New Mexico governors have a partial veto, but as far as I can tell there’s no Wisconsinist tradition of vetoing individual words, much less digits. (For that matter, the digit-vetoing power has been off-limits even in Wisconsin for many years now.) The New Mexico Supreme Court weighed in on the scope of NM-GOV’s partial veto power in Sego vs. Kirkpatrick (1974):
“The Governor may not distort, frustrate or defeat the legislative purpose by a veto of proper legislative conditions, restrictions, limitations or contin- gencies placed upon an appropriation and permit the appropriation to stand. He would thereby create new law, and this power is vested in the Legislature and not in the Governor.”
The New Mexico court’s ruling against the use of the partial veto to alter legislative policy sharply conflicts with that of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which recognized the governor’s authority to “change the policy of the law” through a similar partial veto provision.
So I predict redigitation of the bill in question.