Monday’s Democracy Win:
HB 73 Public Officials as Lobbyists sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines, Rep. Joanne Ferrary and Rep. Nathan Small passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 11-2!
This bill requires legislators to wait two years before registering to lobby at our state legislature in New Mexico. Common Cause New Mexico testified that, “Revolving Door” legislation is important so that average citizens’ access to their legislators doesn’t feel negated by the relationships and influence of recently retired legislators, who are free to immediately return to the legislature to lobby their former colleagues.
Democracy Bill Still in Debate Stage:
SB 205, Unaffiliated Voters in Primary Elections, sponsored by Senator John Sapien faced a tough hearing in Senate Rules today after a NM Supreme Court opinion was issued last week that upheld the constitutionality of a “closed” party primary system. However, the ruling did leave room for an open primary system by not stating that the creation of an open primary system would be unconstitutional. Stay tuned folks, this bill was rolled over until Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. in the Senate Rules Committee for further discussion and debate by the committee and the bill’s sponsor.
Updates for the week ahead:
Tuesday, February 14
HB 206, Unaffiliated Voters in Primary Elections, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia-Richard and Rep. Jim Dines will allow those voters who are not affiliated with any party vote in the primary of their choice. The bill sponsors got some great feedback from the committee and are making a few amendments for the committee hearing tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1:30 in Room 315 in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee.
Wednesday, February 15
SB 224, Register Voters 3 Days Before Elections, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn will be heard in the Senate Rules Committee on Feb. 15 at 8:30 a.m. We should 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.
Ten states plus the District of Columbia currently offer, or have enacted laws, which provide for, Election Day registration, allowing eligible citizens to register or update their records on Election Day. 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 119, Prohibition Period for Candidate Contributions, sponsored by Rep. Matthew McQueen passed the first committee unanimously and will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee at 1:30 on Feb. 15. Currently candidates can accept but not solicit contributions during the legislative session. This bill would change the language to no longer allow candidates to accept any contribution during a legislative session.
HB 58, Rulemaking Requirements, sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry, Rep. Linda Trujillo, Rep. Tomas Salazar and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto 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. This bill will also be heard in the House Judiciary Committee at 1:30 on Feb. 15.
Thursday, February 16
HJR 8, Independent Ethics Commission, sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines, Rep. Nathan Small, Rep. Bill McCamley and Sen. Jeff Steinborn will be heard in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants & Cultural Affairs Committee on Thursday, February 16 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 315.
HJR 8 is one of only five bills Common Cause is scoring for our new NMGPA Scorecard this year. Polling and research shows that states are best served with an Ethics Commission that is grounded and protected in a state’s constitution.
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!
Please check in for an update from the Common Cause New Mexico team tommorrow 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!