The Revolving Door

New Mexico could improve public confidence in the integrity of our state government by enacting a two-year waiting period before former elected officials can become lobbyists.

Approximately 13 former senators and 13 former representatives currently lobby the legislature, with the number increasing every session. These lobbyists are well-known to their former colleagues and their experience and knowledge of the process makes them more influential than the average constituent or citizen lobbyist. Acknowledging the advantages provided by prior service in the legislature, the federal government and 28 other states provide for a hiatus or a pause between when a senator or representative leaves the legislature and when he or she can lobby former colleagues. In some states the cooling off period is two years, in others it is one. This proposal has come before the New Mexico Senate at least three times but it has never made it out of the Senate Rules Committee. It should be enacted.

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