2017 Legislative Session Results In Historic Victories For A Better Democracy In NM!

Posted by Heather Ferguson and Viki Harrison on March 23, 2017


New Mexico Legislative Session

2017 marked a historically successful legislative session in New Mexico!

Our Common Cause New Mexico team was extraordinarily busy – we tracked 77 bills, 11 of which were priority bills for us this year.  As you can see below, 9 of the 11 at least passed one chamber, and 5 of the 11 passed both chambers! Truly a monumental session for CCNM.  All the highlighted titles below mark our 2017 Priority Bills.

Biggest wins so far: Independent Ethics Commission and Campaign Finance Disclosure!

Independent Ethics Commission

Rep. Jim Dines (R-Bernalillo) and Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Dona Ana) introduced HJR 8, a constitutional amendment to create an Independent Ethics Commission.  Rep. Bill McCamley (D-Dona Ana), Rep. Nathan Small (D-Dona Ana), and Rep. Daymon Ely (D- Bernalillo) signed on as co-sponsors to this important legislation passed the House chamber UNANIMOUSLY and passed the Senate chamber by a vote of 30-9!  This joint resolution now sends this constitutional amendment to the New Mexico voters in the 2018 election to create an Independent Ethics commission that will initiate, receive and investigate, complaints alleging violations by state officers or employees in the executive or legislative branch of government with their own subpoena and adjudicatory powers. 

The introduced legislation of HJR 8 contained language regarding the laws addressing the standards of conduct for state officers and employees, campaign finance laws, conduct for lobbyists; and disclosure requirements or standards of conduct for state contractors. It also set forth that the commission would make all complaints available to the public that have been dismissed without a hearing and the reason for the dismissal.  Most of this language was stripped out throughout the committee process in each chamber to comply with repeated requests to shorten the amount of language and level of detail that will be permanently written into our state’s constitution. However, the level of transparency regarding the actions taken by the commission that was in the original introduced version of HJR 8 is what New Mexico’s citizens have prioritized must be included in the enabling legislation when the legislature convenes in 2019!

The enabling legislation must also address the exact duties of the seven-member commission and should also include the process to adjudicate complaints that are found to have enough evidence to proceed to a hearing (which should also be public!),  the guidelines by which they may to impose fines and sanctions where violations are found, deadlines for the complaint and response procedures, a recusal process in the case of a conflict for a commissioner,  and the process by which advisory opinions, dismissals and findings will be made public via a website that is searchable and accessible for the public. 

Rescind Prior Convention Applications

By the passage of HJR 10, sponsored by House Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) the New Mexico Legislature rescinded the previous calls it had made in 1951, 1965 and 1976 for a US constitutional convention.  HJR 10 requires the legislature to notify the US house of its action.  Unlike other joint resolutions this session, Egolf's resolution does not amend the NM constitution but is a little-used type of joint resolution to officially notify the US Congress of New Mexico's intentions.  With this action, our state lawmakers recognized the threat of a “runaway convention” which could result in major changes to the U.S. Constitution and its protections in a process currently bankrolled by special interests. A nationwide push has these well-funded advocates fast approaching the number required to call for an Article V constitutional convention. The New Mexico legislature has now taken a key step away from this dangerous precipice and to safeguard our constitutional liberties and civil rights by rescinding its call for an Article V convention! 

And now for the rest of the bills we tracked that made it through one chamber.

As you see, we have SIX bills on the Governor’s desk and hopes she signs them all into law! CONTACT HER OFFICE TODAY!

PASSED & SENT TO GOVERNOR

Rep. Tomas E. Salazar, H98, PAPER BALLOT ACCESS FOR BLIND VOTERS

Rep. Nate Gentry, H58, RULEMAKING REQUIREMENTS

Rep. James E. Smith, H174, LOCAL ELECTION ACT

Sen. Peter Wirth, S96, CAMPAIGN FINANCE FIXES

Sen. Peter Wirth, S97, PUBLIC FINANCING OF CAMPAIGN FIXES

Sen. Daniel A. Ivey-Soto, S393, LOBBYIST REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

PASSED HOUSE & 1 SENATE COMMITTEE

Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, H28, DRIVER'S LICENSE AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION

PASSED HOUSE & 2 SENATE COMMITTEES

Rep. Jim Dines, H73, PUBLIC OFFICIALS AS LOBBYISTS

Rep. Nathan P. Small, H291, FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FOR APPOINTEES

PASSED SENATE & 1 HOUSE COMMITTEE

Sen. Joseph Cervantes, S262, LEGISLATIVE PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE

Sen. Mimi Stewart, S42, AGREEMENT TO ELECT PRESIDENT BY POPULAR VOTE

PASSED HOUSE

Rep. Matthew McQueen, H120, DISQUALIFICATION OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS

Rep. Matthew McQueen, H121, WEB-BASED CAPITAL OUTLAY PUBLICATION

Rep. Nathan P. Small, H290, ONLINE ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUESTS

Rep. James E. Smith, H297, SCHOOL DISTRICT CAMPAIGN REPORTING DATES

Rep. Lente, H357, NATIVE AMERICAN VOTING INFO TASK FORCE

Sen. Jeff Steinborn, S224, REGISTER VOTERS 3 DAYS BEFORE ELECTIONS

Rep. Matthew McQueen, H119, PROHIBITION PERIOD CANDIDATE CONTRIBUTION

Rep. Linda M. Trujillo, H466, DISCLOSURE OF EDUCATION ELECTION AD SPONSORS

Thank you for your support – we could not have accomplished so much without our members and supporters in New Mexico!

And look for an email next week about our new NM GPA – and find out when we will reveal their scores for good government in 2017.



Office: Common Cause National, Common Cause New Mexico

Issues: Money in Politics, Money in Politics, Ethics, Ethics, Voting and Elections, Voting and Elections, More Democracy Reforms

Tags: Disclosure Laws, Disclosure, Limit On Campaign Contributions, Empowering Small Donors, Creating an Ethics Commission , State Ethics, Access to Voting , Registration and Voting Systems, Count Every Vote New Mexico, National Popular Vote, Create Redistricting Commissions, Redistricting, Fixing Public Campaign Finance, The Revolving Door

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