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Santa Fe New Mexican (Op-Ed): Effort to modernize Legislature casualty of broken system

Outsiders coming to our state often notice how New Mexico is years behind similar states in terms of infrastructure, education, poverty, community well-being and just about any other statistic you use to measure the success of a society. The reputation tracks with a flawed legislative structure that is impeding progress on many levels. We are the only state where legislators do not receive a salary. Most lack professional staff to conduct policy research and constituent services, and they meet for the third-shortest amount of time in the country.

Yahoo! News/Politico: Adams’ pledge of government efficiency remains out of reach

“It’s that baseline of service that really affects how people think about their government,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York, a government reform group. “It’s not about speeches and the big issues; it’s about whether you’ve made a noise complaint and nobody gets back to you for a week.” For Lerner, head of Common Cause, the city’s recent budget cuts — coupled with a struggle to fill vacant positions and a hiring freeze — could hurt the Adams administration’s ability to maintain the nuts and bolts of city government. Frustrations over those basics became palpable for her last year when a fire hydrant on her block began leaking in the summer. Repeated calls to 311 eventually led to visits from the fire and building department personnel, but they failed to stop the flow. Despite repeated follow-up calls, the hydrant continued to leak for months. Eventually, her neighbors inundated local elected officials with calls complaining about the lack of city responsiveness. "And guess what,” Lerner said. “In two weeks it got fixed."

Providence Journal: Access to public records was a problem in the bridge shutdown. Will that help reforms pass?

"It's a perfect example of something that is in the public interest," John Marion Jr., executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, said Thursday about the Washington Bridge emails.

Albuquerque Journal (Op-Ed): NM needs a modern Legislature to cope with modern challenges

For the past four years, Common Cause New Mexico, and several community groups, have been exploring the possibility of upgrading New Mexico’s legislative branch to meet today’s challenges with adequate staff, longer sessions and salaries for our unpaid legislators.

Voting & Elections 02.5.2024

Syracuse Post-Standard: Republicans push Onondaga County to sue NY over change to election schedule

"Moving local elections to even years will boost turnout, reduce voter fatigue, and minimize stressors on the local boards of elections,'' said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York.

San Diego Union Tribune: In Chula Vista, when it comes to public records, not much is public

Sean McMorris of California Common Cause, a Los Angeles-area nonprofit that advocates for good government and open records, said there are many reasons cities should post responses to public-records requests. Activists, lawyers, business owners and everyday citizens can review the postings themselves without having to interrupt city employees by submitting a redundant request, he said. "It also creates a record for the city in terms of litigation," McMorris said. "It induces them to respond more thoroughly because the record is there." In cases of lawsuits, "the city could use it to defend itself and vice-versa." But too often, McMorris said, government agencies choose to direct people into new requests.

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