Common Cause New Mexico Outlines Good Government Priorities for 2023 Session
For Immediate Release: Jan. 12, 2023
Contact: Mario Jimenez, 575-571-8507 or email@example.com
COMMON CAUSE NEW MEXICO OUTLINES GOOD GOVERNMENT PRIORITIES FOR 2023 SESSION
Modernizing the legislative process, with more staff, longer sessions and compensation for legislators is the top priority for Common Cause in the upcoming session. The non-partisan good government group will also push for continued fixes to the campaign finance and disclosure acts, and protection for election officials against intimidation.
“This year we have a historic revenue surplus, so there is no time like the present to make some lasting institutional changes in the legislative process to benefit the citizens of New Mexico with additional constituent services, more solid policy making and more opportunities for citizen input into the often opaque, convoluted process,” said Mario Jimenez, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico.
Jimenez stressed the importance of providing professional staff for hard-pressed legislators who—for most of the year– are answering their own phones, doing their own research and spending “all-nighters” in order to get the work done during short legislative sessions. “The people of New Mexico deserve better,” he said.
In Oct. 2022, Common Cause’s annual poll revealed that 67% of likely voters support paid staff, 70% support longer sessions, 64% support paying legislators and 84% support more disclosure of incomes by legislators and their families. Support was broad based and included responses from both parties and all parts of the state.
Two of the reform measures will require constitutional amendments. A measure to put the question of lengthening the session on the ballot will be carried by Rep. Natalie Figueroa as HJR 2.
Rep Angelica Rubio will be carrying measure to create a citizen commission on legislative salaries to set and limit salaries for legislators subject to a voter referendum. Legislation to fund personal staff for legislators is being drafted. It does not require a constitutional amendment.
Other bills on Common Cause’s priority list:
- A bill to tighten the Campaign Reporting Act to require more disclosure of loans to campaigns, carried by Sens. Peter Wirth and Katy Duhigg
- A bill to protect election officials and employees of county clerks and the Secretary of State from intimidation carried by Sen. Katy Duhigg
- HJR 1, sponsored by Rep. Natalie Figueroa, to amend the constitution to provide a truly independent redistricting commission
- A bill carried by Sens. Peter Wirth and Katy Duhigg to enact tighter disclosure requirements for legislators and other elected officials
Other bills supported by Common Cause create open primaries where “decline-to-state” (independent) voters could select either a Democratic or Republican ballot, and additional disclosures to reveal lobbyist activities and compensation.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard as equals in the political process.