Governor Martinez signs HB155 to Improve Lobby Disclosure in New Mexico
- Viki Harrison
In New Mexico lobbyists register, file expenditure and contribution reports – but often these are indecipherable or non-existent, purged after only a few years. Yesterday Governor Susana Martinez signed House Bill 155 sponsored by Representative Jeff Steinborn that will drastically improve our Lobbyist Regulation Act. HB115 requires that:
- Lobbyist registrations, statements and lobbying reports shall be kept and maintained on the Secretary of State’s lobbyist disclosure website, and shall be available in searchable and downloadable formats.
- Lobbyist registrations are published on the Secretary of State’s site within 5 days.
- Lobbyist records are retained online for 10 years – current law requires only 2 years with no requirement to archiving them after this short period.
- An increase in the lobbyist registration fee from $25 to $50.
In a recent poll commissioned by Common Cause New Mexico, 64% of voters said that New Mexico’s elected officials are more responsive to lobbyists than voters, and only 19% say they are more responsive to voters. “That’s a serious warning sign that our democracy is ailing,” said Viki Harrison, Common Cause New Mexico Executive Director, “and we need to intervene to make it more transparent.” “By making the information about lobbyists much easier to find online, the public and the media will be able to better ascertain who is courting who in Santa Fe, and that is important as we work to restore faith in good government,” she continued.
Thanks to our volunteers, allies and supporters in the Legislature, HB155 is an important step to shining a light on what is happening with our State Legislature. And we were certainly disappointed that the bill was amended along the way to remove certain requirements, namely that lobbyists report which bills and issues they are working on and which legislators benefit from their spending – those are important pieces that we will be back to work on in the future, but for today we are celebrating the NM State legislature and Governor Susana Martinez for passing good, bi-partisan legislation for New Mexico.