We appreciate all of the elected officials, Common Cause New Mexico members and good-government supporters who joined us for our annual luncheon this past Saturday.
At the luncheon, Common Cause New Mexico enjoyed the opportunity to present its Best In Government Awards to several worthy public officials and citizens on both sides of the aisle. The individuals and groups honored this year represent good government in action. When hardworking, dedicated people come together and work in a bipartisan, cooperative manner, we can accomplish great things for the people of New Mexico!
Sen. Lisa Torraco, Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto and Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver received the Best in Government Award for their collaborative work on Senate Bill 643, an online voter registration bill that passed each chamber unanimously and was signed into law by the Governor. The new law, which was sponsored by Sen. Torraco, was a combination of several different bills introduced by both Republicans and Democrats during the session.
It will allow full online voter registration, enable New Mexico to join an interstate group to resolve inconsistencies in interstate voter rolls, clean up the election code and facilitate military and overseas voting. We are appreciative of their work to ensure more New Mexicans have the opportunity to participate in our democracy!
Rep. Jim Dines (R-Bernalillo) and Rep. Javier Martinez (D-Bernalillo) were named 2015 Best in Government “Rookies” for their efforts to pass House Bill 241. The bill sought to introduce a two-year "cooling off" period before former elected officials and cabinet secretaries could become paid lobbyists. In 2014, there were approximately twenty-six former legislators lobbying the New Mexico state legislature.
The bill was tabled in the Senate Rules Committee 8-1 after passing the House 57-10. At least 31 states and the federal government have similar legislation, which in a statewide poll enjoyed the support of 82% of New Mexico voters. Though this law was not enacted in the 2015 session, we are grateful for their efforts and for bringing greater awareness to the "Revolving Door" issue.
In the municipal category, the Santa Fe Ethics and Campaign Review Board was recognized as a model for sound and enlightened administration of government ethics and campaign finance laws. The board was established in 2005, to resolve complaints of ethics and campaign finance violations and to advise the council on legislation to keep the city’s laws up-to-date in the face of changes in campaign practices and constitutional rules.
The board is currently working with the council and interested citizens to strengthen Santa Fe’s popular public campaign finance system to ensure that publicly financed candidates will have the resources they need to offset heavy spending by privately financed candidates or PACs. For these efforts the Board deserved the Best in Government Municipal award.
Thank you for your support, and we will see you next year.