Governor Bill Richardson vetoed the bill to create a cabinet-level Office of Hispanic Affairs. The bill initially raised $700,000 to get the office going, but the funding was eliminated before the bill was passed. "The legislation...outlines steps that must be taken should I sign the bill into law. Without funding, there is no practical way to comply with the provisions in the bill," the Governor said in a letter addressed to Sen. Tim Jennings and the New Mexico Senate, explaining his veto.
Ralph Arellanes, district director of LULAC for northern New Mexico, had earlier threatened to make a national issue out of the veto, should it occur. Perhaps to mollify him and others who supported the bill, sponsored by Sen. Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, Richardson offered to appoint a special advisor of Hispanic Affairs for the Governor’s Office.