Today marks the halfway point of the session.
To say that everyone is already counting down the days is a huge understatement – most have been counting them down before they even started. With no money to fund new projects, folks are just trying to hold on to what they have now, and that makes for some tense hallways at the Roundhouse.
But good and accountable government reforms continue to move!
Redistricting Passes First Committee
This morning in the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee, HJR1, to create an independent commission to conduct redistricting passed unanimously! Many thanks to our amazing House sponsor, Rep. Carl Trujillo, who mastered yet another hearing! And kudos to our Senate sponsor, Sen. Bill O’Neill, who never stops lobbying his fellow elected to pass this important constitutional amendment so the voters can decide!
Let’s Consolidate Elections for Better Participation
HB 143, sponsored by Rep. Paul Bandy, to consolidate elections was also heard and passed unanimously this morning in House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee. Common Cause New Mexico very much supports combining elections and holding all elections at the same time year after year, so we can increase our participation and save money at the same time!
From the Fiscal Impact Report:
House Bill 143 changes the dates on which certain elections are held to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of odd-numbered years. The amendment provides a single election date for the following elections:
- School district
- Special taxes imposed for special hospital districts
- Special hospital districts
- Community college board
- Technical or vocational district
- Learning center tax levy
- General obligation bonds of Schools districts
- Public school capital improvements
- Public school buildings
- Public School Lease Purchase Act
- Flood control district
- Conservancy district
The County Clerks Association stated in the prior-year response to similar legislation that, without election date consolidation, voters will continue to be confused with regard to voting locations and voting dates for various elections that do not carry federal candidates. Additionally, entities responsible for holding elections will continue to spend thousands of tax dollars on elections with little public participation.
Webcasting Archived – YES
It sounds like such a simple thing – archive the webcasts from the House floor and committees so folks who can’t watch live during the day can watch it later, just like we do with any other program. Yet HR1 to do just that has been introduced by Rep. Jeff Steinborn three times without passing. As a House Rule, this one just needs to pass the House floor!
Today it passed unanimously out of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee and is now headed to the House floor. We are so thankful to Rep. Steinborn for continuing to be a champion for transparency, accessibility and accountability! Please let your Representative know that archiving equals access, and we want access!
Still Watching for Ethics!
HJR5 to create an Independent Ethics Commission should be on the House floor for debate in the next couple of days! If you haven’t contacted your Representative yet, please do because they need to hear from YOU.