NEW MEXICO Only Three Weeks Left!

NEW MEXICO Only Three Weeks Left!

Common Cause New Mexico's Update: A Wrap of Last Friday and a Look at the Week Ahead


SB 224, Register Voters 3 Days Before Elections, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn, passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee on Friday.

This bill will extend the Voter Registration Deadline by allowing registration, in real time, through the Saturday before Election Day. The next stop for this bill is the Senate Floor for a full vote! 

Democracy works best when the highest number of people participate in the process. Low voter turnout has been a problem in New Mexico, and registering through early voting is an effective way to boost voter turnout.

Our election officials currently have the technology to process voter registration forms in real time thus allowing registration through the Saturday before Election Day.

HB 174, Local Election Act, sponsored by Rep. James Smith and Sen. Ivey-Soto, passed the House Floor on a 38-29 vote! Now we are headed to the Senate!

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 poor turn out, which can tend to skew things in one direction or another.

Monday February 27

SB 393, Lobbyist Reporting Requirements, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto and Rep. James Smith, is scheduled in the Senate Rules Committee at 8:30 a.m. in Room 321.  This bill amends the Lobbyist Regulation Act changing the reporting threshold to require cumulative reporting of expenses incurred under $100, in addition to the existing requirement for reporting single transactions over $100. 

HB 225, Live & Archived Public Meeting Webcasts, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Fajardo and Rep. James Smith, is scheduled for the House Appropriations and Finance Committee at 1:30 p.m. in Room 307. This bill amends the Open Meetings Act to require boards, commissions, administrative adjudicatory bodies and other policymaking bodies conducting public meetings to provide for live and archived video and audio transmission of the meetings via the internet no later than January 1, 2018. Information concerning where to access the live and archived transmissions must be provided in the meeting notice. The access point utilized must be a public access website or a website available without cost or subscription. 

This bill does exempt municipalities with less than 15,000 in population, counties other than Class A and political subdivisions of the state other than a county or municipality. It also requires a state public body to produce an electronic media exact copy of the transmission of a public meeting and to post it to their website within 48 hours of the end of the meeting.  

This is a great step forward that will allow New Mexico’s citizens greater access to our government and an increased ability to participate in its process.

Tuesday February 28

HJR 3, Independent Redistricting Commission, sponsored by Representative Carl Trujillo, Senator Bill O’Neil and Senator Mark Moores, will have its second hearing in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grant and Cultural Affairs Committee at 1:30 PM in Room 315, to review a newly amended version of HJR3 that will include language requiring that the commission’s make-up reflect a broad geographic distribution from around the state and a few other technical changes. 

Thursday March 2

SB 97, Public Financing of Campaign Fixes, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth, is on the agenda in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grant & Cultural Affairs Committee at 1:30pm in Room 315.

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 prohibits the use of campaign funds for living expenses or compensation to the candidate or candidate’s family.

Please check in for an update from the Common Cause New Mexico team tomorrow so see what other bills may be added to committee calendars on the Democracy Wire page of our website!

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