NEW MEXICO Moving Faster and Faster – More Added for Friday!

NEW MEXICO Moving Faster and Faster – More Added for Friday!

Common Cause New Mexico has a busy week of hearings for good-government bills ahead of us!

Today was full of meetings for CCNM around our 2017 Priority Bills, as we work to ensure passage of good government reforms this year. Please continue to call your Legislators and show up for hearings – it makes all the difference in the world when they hear from their own constituents!

Wednesday, February 8

SB 168 Lobbyist Reporting Requirements and Fees sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn will be heard in the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday, February 8 at 8:30 a.m.

New Mexico lags far behind other states in Updating the Lobbyist Regulation Act. Recent data shows a 6:1 ratio of lobbyists to each state legislator – that puts New Mexico’s citizens at an alarming disadvantage to have their voice heard.

To update the Lobbyist Regulation Act we must:

  • Raise the filing fee for lobbyists and their employers from $50 to $100
  • Amend the statute to require that all expenditures are reported, if the aggregate thereof equals $100 or more
  • Require lobbyists to report which legislative or administrative issue for which they have been employed to discuss with legislators so that the public knows who is lobbying for which legislation in New Mexico

This is one of our 2017 SCORED BILLS, so we are making sure all Senators know today that we need their support tomorrow!

HB 73 Public Officials as Lobbyists sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines, Rep. Joanne Ferrary and Rep. Nathan Small will be heard on Wednesday, February 8 at 1:30 in the House Judiciary Committee. The sponsors have drafted a few technical amendments that will be added to the bill prior to a committee vote so your calls to ask your legislator to support are STILL NEEDED! 

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.

Thursday, February 9

A slew of bills will be heard in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs committee on Thursday, February 8 at 1:30 p.m.  

Two of them address the primary system in New Mexico – HB 206, Unaffiliated Voters in Primary Elections, sponsored by Rep. Moe Maestas, and HJR 6, Top Two Candidates Open Primary Elections, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia-Richard and Rep. Jim Dines.

HB 206 will allow those voters who are not affiliated with any party vote in the primary of their choice, and HJR 6 will allow for a completely open primary, where the top two winners go on to the general ballot.

Also on the agenda is HB 226, Minor Party Candidate Nominating Signatures, sponsored by Rep. James Smith – this bill would reduce the number of signatures Minor Party candidates would need to get on the ballot – thus leveling the playing field for those candidates who are not with one of the two major parties.

Friday, February 10

Public Financing System “Fix” and Campaign Finance Disclosure are both up in Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday at 2:30 p.m.

Both are CCNM Priority Bills, and the Campaign Finance Disclosure one will also be scored this year!

Campaign Finance Disclosure, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth, passed the Senate Rules committee and is now scheduled for 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

SB 97, Public Financing of Campaign Fixes, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth is also on the agenda for the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday at 2:30 p.m.

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.

Please check in tomorrow to see what happened on Wednesday and what might be adde to the list for Thursday and Friday. Or even Saturday… Check in then 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!