NEW MEXICO Is One More Step Closer To Creating An Independent Ethics Commission!

Posted by Heather Ferguson on February 16, 2017


Ethics thumbnail for issue buckets

HJR8 passed the House Local Elections, Land Grants, and Cultural Affairs Committee with unanimous support!

Sponsors Rep. Jim Dines, Rep. Bill McCamley, Rep. Nathan Small, and Senator Jeff Steinborn fielded questions from the committee regarding this constitutional amendment that would consist of a seven-member commission appointed by the Governor and leaders from both parties of each chamber.

If passed by the voters in 2018, this commission would be effective by 2019.

Our HUGE thanks to Terri Cole, President and CEO of the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters of New Mexico, the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, and the citizen advocates who testified in strong support of HJR8 before the committee. Accountability and transparency is an issue that reaches across all party lines, is supported by 86% of our New Mexico business leaders, and 90% of New Mexico's citizens in recent state-wide polls conducted by Research & Polling Inc. 

Next, HJR8 will be scheduled for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. Please keep checking back with us, we will update in one of our next blogs but the hearing is scheduled!

Common Cause has been working on the creation of an ethics committee in various forms for almost 40 years, please help us make 2017 the year that we pass meaningful ethics reform in New Mexico and contact your representative today to ask for their support!

Friday, February 17

SB 224, Register Voters 3 Days Before Elections, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn, may be heard in the Senate Rules Committee on Feb. 17 at 8:30 a.m., after being rolled over Wednesday Feb 15 to draft a few technical amendments requested by the Clerk’s Association. This bill will extend the Voter Registration Deadline by allowing registration through the Saturday before Election Day. Democracy works best when the highest number of people participate in the process. Low voter turnout has been a problem in New Mexico, and registering through early voting is an effective way to boost voter turnout.

Our election officials currently have the technology to process voter registration forms in real time thus allowing registration through the Saturday before Election Day.

HB 58, Rulemaking Requirements, sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry, Rep. Linda M. Trujillo, Rep. Tomás E. Salazar and Sen. Daniel A. Ivey-Soto, will be heard in House Judiciary at 1:30 in afternoon on Friday Feb. 17. This bill provides a uniform process for the consideration of rule changes across state government while increasing the opportunities for the public to participate in the rulemaking process.

Next Week Updates:

Monday February 20

HB 174, Local Election Act, sponsored by Rep. James Smith and Sen. Ivey-Soto, is scheduled for a hearing Monday February 23 at 1:30 p.m. in the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill would streamline the included local elections by consolidating their procedures. The elections named in the act would be conducted on the same date, with the same dates and processes for filings, campaign finance reports, and declarations of candidacy, thus potentially reducing costs and administrative burdens associated with conducting several different elections with related procedures and timelines.

This is an important bill for democracy. Low turn-out elections are a problem for democracy and elections which are not held at the same time as either the general election or a municipal election have poor turn out, which can tend to skew things in one direction or another.

Thursday February 23

HJR 3, Independent Redistricting Commission, sponsored by Rep. Carl Trujillo, Sen. Bill O’Neill and Sen. Mark Moores, is scheduled for a hearing next Thursday, February 23 at 1:30 p.m. in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee.

Common Cause New Mexico supports the creation of an independent commission to conduct redistricting. This will establish written criteria for re-drawing district boundaries and require a fair and transparent process for conducting redistricting. The drawing of electoral districts is not transparent and all too often, there is no public participation. The resulting districts can often serve the political interests of the people who draw them, rather than the interests of the people being represented. 

When voters feel that their input doesn’t matter, they stop participating. Seeing incumbents win time and again because districts are rigged to stifle competition creates a sense of incumbent inevitability and creates a disconnection between citizens and their elected officials. This combination of disenfranchisement and low voter participation is toxic to our democracy.

Please check in for an update from the Common Cause New Mexico team tomorrow so see what bills may be added to the list over the weekend for early next week on the Democracy Wire page of our website!

Follow us on Twitter @commoncausenm & like us on Facebook for mid-day updates and remember to CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS!

Office: Common Cause National, Common Cause New Mexico

Issues: Ethics, Ethics, Voting and Elections, Voting and Elections

Tags: Creating an Ethics Commission , State Ethics, Access to Voting , Registration and Voting Systems, Create Redistricting Commissions, Redistricting

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