First Democracy Wins of the 2017 Session Today!

First Democracy Wins of the 2017 Session Today!

Common Cause New Mexico celebrates Ethics and Revolving Door legislation moving through first committee and prepares for future hearings

Woot Woot! We saw two of our priority bills victorious in their first committee this morning!

One to create an Independent Ethics Commission in New Mexico and another to close the “Revolving Door” of former legislators from lobbying for two years – thank you sponsors and committee members.

Today the House State Government, Indian and Veterans Affairs Committee debated HJR 8, a constitutional amendment that would create our state’s first independent ethics commission, and send the question to voters in the fall of 2018. 

Our thanks to the hard work and tenacity on HJR8 by Rep. Jim Dines, Sen. Jeff Steinborn, Rep. Bill McCamley and Rep. Nathan Small, this bi-partisan and bicameral constitutional amendment bill passed the committee on an 8-1 vote!

The seven-member commission will receive and investigate complaints submitted to them regarding: 

  • ethical conduct violations by elected officials or public employees
  • campaign finance restrictions or reporting violations for candidates both state and local campaigns
  • registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists
  • disclosure and ethical standard conduct violations by state contractors or seekers of state contractors

This commission will only make complaints public after either a response from the individual facing a complaint has been received by the commission, or the deadline for submitting a response has passed.  This rule will address the concerns that frivolous or malicious complaints could be publicized prior to an accused individual is given appropriate time to respond to a complaint filed against them. 

Our next committee assignment is in the House Judiciary Committee.  We will let you know when that hearing is set – hopefully next week!

Next, HB 73, sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines, Rep. Joanne Ferrary and Rep. Nathan Small, requires legislators to wait two years before become lobbyists in New Mexico. And it passed the committee unanimously!

Common Cause New Mexico testified that Revolving Door legislation is important for our legislature to pass so that citizen’s access to legislators doesn’t feel negated by the power of recently retired legislators who are also lobbying for issues, but treated as colleagues and thus given far more access than the average citizen. 

Today’s vote shows that your legislators are listening to YOU! Our thanks to everyone on the committee for their support in moving this forward!  

Please take a moment to call your legislators today and ask them to support HJR8 and HB73 as they move through the process.

And on the Agenda for Friday

Disclosure is on the Senate Rules calendar for Friday, January 27! This is not only a priority, but also a bill that will be scored for our first NM GPA. Check it out to see all bills being scored, our methodology and read about our Four Pillars of Democracy.

The proposed disclosure legislation has passed the Senate FOUR times (the last three unanimously), as well as all House committees in prior years. This bill will overhaul the current law to bring it in line with both recent constitutional rulings and modern campaign practices by:

  • Requiring public disclosure of information about the campaign spending of PACs and other non-candidate campaign participants without crossing constitutional boundaries established by the courts
  • Requiring independent groups to disclose contributions and expenditures

Why this legislation is important to New Mexicans:

  • 91% of New Mexico voters support requiring that all large political contributions be made public
  • 74% of New Mexico voters support contribution limits for candidates

Let’s pass it through the Senate again, and all the way to the House floor in 2017!

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