NEW MEXICO Mid-week Roundhouse Update

NEW MEXICO Mid-week Roundhouse Update

Common Cause New Mexico's team is celebrating a win on public financing gearing up for more hearings later in the week, including the National Popular Vote compact.

Public Financing System “Fix” Passes Senate Committee 

SB 97, Public Financing of Campaign Fixes, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth passed the Senate Rules Committee this morning by a vote of 7-2!

New Mexico currently has three systems for public financing of campaigns: the Public Regulation Commission, Court of Appeals and the NM Supreme Court.

This bill fixes current statutory language that is unconstitutional following recent case rulings, it prohibits 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. Next stop is the Senate Judiciary Committee! Our thanks to the members of the Senate Rules Committee for their support today!

Coming Up Tomorrow, Thursday!

House Local Government Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee

1:30 in Room 315

  • HB 174 – Local Election Act sponsored by Rep. Jim Smith and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto has its first hearing in the House Local Government Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee.

The bill would streamline the included local elections by consolidating their procedures. The elections named in the act would be conducted on the same date, with the same dates and processes for filings, campaign finance reports, and declarations of candidacy, thus potentially reducing costs and administrative burdens associated with conducting several different elections with related procedures and timelines.

This is an important bill for democracy. Low turn-out elections are a problem for democracy and elections which are not held at the same time as either the general election or a municipal election have really poor turn out, which can tend to skew things in one direction or another.

  • HB 119 – Prohibition Period for Candidate Contributions sponsored by Rep. Matthew McQueen also has its first hearing tomorrow. 

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.

And on Friday!

House Judiciary Committee

1:30 in Room 309

  • HB 73 Public Officials as Lobbyists sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines, Rep. Joanne Ferrary and Rep. Nathan Small is on the House Judiciary Committee Calendar. 

This bill requires legislators to wait two years before become lobbyists in New Mexico, and it passed its first 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. 

Senate Rules Committee

8:30 AM in Room 321

  • SB 42 Agreement to Elect President by Popular Vote sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart is on the Senate Rules Committee Calendar. 

There are also additional bills on the NPV by Sen. Carlos Cisneros and Sen. Cisco McSorley.


States currently have the power to award their electors to the winner of the national popular vote, although this would be disadvantageous to the state that did this unless it was joined simultaneously by other states that represent a majority of electoral votes. Hence the National Popular Vote plan is an interstate compact—a type of state law authorized by the U.S. Constitution that enables states to enter into a legally enforceable contractual obligation to undertake agreed joint actions, which may be delayed in implementation until a requisite number of states join in. There are more than a thousand interstate compacts, and each state in the United States belongs to dozens of them. The U.S. Supreme Court has authorized electoral compacts in “dicta” and several other electoral compacts have been proposed in the past.

Under the National Popular Vote plan, the compact would take effect only when enabling legislation has been enacted by states collectively possessing a majority of the electoral votes— that is 270 of the 538 electoral votes.

Once effective, states could withdraw from the compact at anytime except during the six-month window between July 20th of an election year and inauguration day (January 20th).

To determine the National Popular Vote winner, state election officials would simply tally the nationwide vote for President based on each state’s official results. Then, state elections officials in all states participating in the plan would choose electors sworn to support the presidential candidate who received the largest number of popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The winner would receive all of the compacting states’ electoral votes plus additional electoral votes from whatever non-compacting states happened to be carried by the nationwide winner. Thus, in practice, the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide would typically receive about three-quarters of the electoral votes.

We will update you again tomorrow as more items are added to the agenda! Check in then for the next Democracy Wire update from the Common Cause New Mexico team!

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