As we told you a couple of days ago, we had three bills in committee this morning; so once again, we were there early and ready to see good legislation passed in New Mexico!
HB 150 – Voter Registration and Early Vote Sites
This legislation will extend the voter registration deadline, allowing registration through the Saturday before Election Day, allowing more eligible New Mexicans the opportunity to participate in our political process. Unfortunately HB 150 was tabled today, but we worked on amendments after the committee and will share them with committee members tomorrow and see if we can be pulled off the table and heard again with the amendments as early as Friday!
HB 151 – Primary Voting for Some 17 year olds
This bill permits 17 year olds to vote in primaries and allows for pre-registering of 16 and 17 year olds, which encourages new voters and promotes democracy for our future. HB 151 passed unanimously and is headed to the House Judiciary Committee!
HB 205 – Public Financing of Legislative Races
This legislation will allow public campaign financing for legislative races to give back influence to everyday New Mexicans, rather than only top donors, and give elected leaders the opportunity to focus on what really matter, rather than campaign fundraising. HB 205 also passed the committee and is also now headed to the House Judiciary Committee.
After we finished in the committee (which stayed late to hear all the bills – thanks to Rep. Jim Smith for that and to Speaker Don Tripp for excusing the members from the House floor so they could debate good bills) we met with legislators about the lobby disclosure bill that was tabled on Monday. There is a lot of interest from committee members to bring it off the table with a few amendments, and we hope to have agreement on that this week – and you will be the first to know!
Finally, after meeting with Rep. Egolf about his Independent Ethics Commission bill, and offering some amendments, we are thrilled to report we support the bill and are excited to see movement on establishing a true independent ethics commission in New Mexico. We appreciate all the hard work from many sides to create a bill that works for New Mexico.
While no laws or rules area substitute for good moral character or intention, the creation of clear, fair, ethical rules and standards provide critical guidance and will draw bright lines to create a common view of appropriate behavior. No person, whether in or out of government, is the best judge of their own case. The creation of an independent entity to investigate allegations of violations of ethical standards of conduct will better insulate the process from political or partisan influences, as well as protecting the public interest.
Tomorrow will be full of meetings and trying to speak to folks about supporting our priority legislation and getting stuff off all these tables!