The Constitution of New mexico

The 1910 constitution ended the 59-year frustration of the people of the New Mexico territory to gain equal footing as a state among the other 46 states in the union. However, admission of the territory was not to be on an equal footing with the other states. The Enabling Act passed by congress and approved by President Taft on June 20, 1910 was really a compact specifying a long list of conditions that had to be accepted and a schedule or list of prerequisites that had to be followed. These conditions were incorporated into the new constitution as Articles 21 and 22 and so remain there today even though some of the conditions are no longer operative.

The document produced by the 1910 convention and accepted by congress and the president, but not without an additional condition, was, overall, not a bad piece of work.

It was written by men of exceptional abilities who, although being products of the 19th century and of conservative bent, produced for the 20th and 21st centuries a workable governmental structure, a reasonably sound fiscal base, a solid public educational system and protections for the civil and religious rights of Hispanic citizens and their children.

The written portion of the constitution of New Mexico, as distinguished from the whole body of constitutional law, consists of a preamble and 23 articles. Briefly, the 23 articles deal with the following broad categories: Article Subject

1 - name of the state and its boundaries;

2 - bill of rights;

3 - distribution of powers of government;

4 - legislative department;

5 - executive department;

6 - judicial department;

7 - elective franchise;

8 - taxation and revenue;

9 - state, county and municipal indebtedness;

10 - county and municipal government;

11 - regulation of private corporations and utilities; - 2 -

12 - education;

13 - public lands;

14 - public institutions;

15 - department of agriculture;

16 - irrigation and water rights;

17 - state mine inspector and mining regulations;

18 - militia (national guard);

19 - amendment and revision procedures;

20 - miscellaneous procedures;

21 - compact with the United States regarding requirement for statehood;

22 - schedule for transition from territory to state;

23 - prohibition of intoxicating liquor - repealed]; and

24 - contracts for development and production of minerals on state lands.

Article 23, adopted in 1917, prohibited the sale of intoxicating liquors in New Mexico. It was repealed in 1933 in concert with the repeal of the national constitutional prohibition that same year. With the exception of this repeal and the addition of Article 24, the practice in New Mexico has been to incorporate amendments by adding or deleting language in the pertinent article. This differs from the federal constitutional practice of making changes by adding new articles to the original document.