At Dawn of Sunshine Week, NM Legislature Has Yet to Act on Disclosure, Ethics Bills

At Dawn of Sunshine Week, NM Legislature Has Yet to Act on Disclosure, Ethics Bills

Common Cause New Mexico is celebrating Sunshine Week by working to pass bills to improve transparency in the final week of the session.

This week is Sunshine Week in the U.S., with events celebrated across the nation on the birthday of founding father James Madison to highlight the need for open government in all forms – through open meetings, accessible and available documents, and opportunities for the public to know what is being done by governments in our name.

It is also the final week of the New Mexico legislature, which wraps up at noon on March 21. There’s been much talk this session about bipartisan agreement on disclosure and sunshine, but as of Monday, there are still a dozen or so disclosure, ethics and campaign reform bills pending. Hopefully, at least a few will cross the finish line.

Here’s the status of some of these important measures, which are now waiting with lots of other bills in either the House Judiciary Committee or the Senate Rules Committee.

House Judiciary Committee: We are still waiting on these three bills to be scheduled: HB 278, sponsored by Rep. Jim Smith, to disclose anonymous donors to independent PACs and bring the election code into compliance with recent court rulings. It has also not heard SB 58, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth, to clean up our existing public financing law and prevent personal use of campaign funds. Rep. Brian Egolf’s HB 115 to form an independent ethics commission is also waiting on a hearing.

The Senate Rules Committee has scheduled two lobbying bills passed by the NM House: HB 155, Rep. Jeff Steinborn’s bill to require additional lobbyist disclosures, and HB 241, Rep. Jim Dines’ bill to slow down the revolving door from legislator to lobbyist. Both are on the schedule for Tuesday, March 16 at 9 AM.

There’s still time to get these bills passed, but it won’t happen without your support. Transparency in elections, in government and in a democracy doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work. Please contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Rules Committee about the bills listed above and tell them, “For Sunshine’s Sake, Support These Bills!”  

For HB 155 and HB 241:

Senate Rules Committee

  • Linda Lopez (505) 986-4737
  • Daniel Ivy Soto (505) 986-4270
  • Jacob Candelaria (505) 986-4391
  • Stuart Ingle (505) 986-4702
  • Mark Moores (505) 986-4859
  • Gerald Ortiz y Pino (505) 986-4482
  • Cliff Pirtle (505) 986-4862
  • Clemente Sanchez (505) 986-4369
  • Michael Sanchez (505) 986-4727
  • Sander Rue (505) 986-4375 

For SB 58, HB 278 and HB 115: 

House Judiciary Committee 

  • Zachary J. Cook (505) 986-4411
  • Paul A. Pacheco (505) 986-4238
  • David E. Adkins (505) 986-4453
  • Eliseo Lee Alcon (505) 986-4220
  • Cathrynn N. Brown (505) 986-4415
  • Gail Chasey (505) 986-4452
  • Jim Dines (505) 986-4242
  • Brian Egolf (505) 986-4757
  • Nate Gentry (505) 986-4776
  • Georgene Louis (505) 986-4445
  • Antonio Maestas (505) 986-4243
  • W. Ken Martinez (505) 986-4226
  • Terry H. McMillan (505) 986-4327

“A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives,” James Madison famously said.  These transparency measures will help.