It’s Friday, and we just had another WIN for Good Government

It’s Friday, and we just had another WIN for Good Government

Common Cause New Mexico works to advance campaign finance disclosure reforms

Campaign Finance Disclosure passed the Senate Rules committee and is now headed to the Senate Judiciary committee.

Please contact your legislator and ask them to support SB 96 to ensure that everyone spending large amounts of money in our elections discloses where that money comes from and where it is going! You can locate your legislator here.

This not only a priority bill for Common Cause New Mexico, but also a bill that will be scored for our first NM GPA. Check out our new website 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

So What’s Up for Next Week?

First, another Priority Bill is on the agenda for Monday morning! A bill to improve New Mexico’s existing system of public campaign financing. New Mexico currently has three systems for public financing of campaigns: the Public Regulation Commission, Court of Appeals and the NM Supreme Court.

On June 27, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutionality of public campaign financing in the Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett decision. The ruling, however, struck down one mechanism used in some public financing programs, including New Mexico’s Voter Action Act.

While the current bill does not address what was struck down as far as matching funds, it does prohibit candidates who run unopposed from receiving more than 10% of the public funding available to them, and also prohibits the use of campaign funds for living expenses or compensation to the candidate or candidate’s family.

The bill will be heard in the Senate Rules committee at 9 AM. Let your legislators know to support Senator Peter Wirth’s SB 97!

Then we are hoping that the THREE Common Cause New Mexico priority bills (Constitutional Amendment to Create an Ethics Commission, Prohibiting Legislators from Lobbying for two Years after Leaving Office, and the Campaign finance disclosure bill described above) that passed their first committee this week will be scheduled for their next committee soon – check in daily to our blog for when they will be scheduled.

We are Tracking More than our Priority Bills!

We have other bills we follow besides the 1) Bills being scored on the NM GPA and 2) the Common Cause New Mexico Priority legislation for the year – we also track about another 60-75 throughout the session that we either support or oppose. We expect to see quite a few of them have their first hearing next week, including the below. 

Click on the link for any committee and you will find the agenda, committee members, links for bills, analysis of bills and what committees they have been assigned to – as well as sponsors and co-sponsors.

Tuesday in House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs

HB 99 – 16 year olds voting in school elections sponsored by Rep. Javier Martinez

Thursday in House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs

HB 120 Disqualification of Presidential Electors

HB 119 Prohibition Period for Candidate Contributions

Tuesday in House State Government, Indian and Veterans’ Affairs

HB 121 Web-Based Outlay Publication

And there will be lots more next week, so check back after the weekend for the next Democracy Wire update from the Common Cause New Mexico team!

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