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How did Transparency Fare in the 2015 New Mexico Legislature: column for NM InDepth

Errors of Enchantment Blog Postings - Tue, 2015-04-21 11:25

How did transparency and open government fare during New Mexico’s 2015 legislative session? Prior to the 2015 session, I urged legislators to consider a variety of reforms. Some of my ideas were discussed and acted upon while others were ignored completely. Change comes slowly in politics and that is doubly true in Santa Fe.

Prior to the session, I argued for a formal institutional process of recording and archiving committee hearings. Gov. Martinez’s office has handled this task with legislators taking varying degrees of umbrage at the Executive Branch’s seeming intrusion on Legislative priorities. Unfortunately, the very fact that the Governor’s office has handled this task became the latest excuse for some legislators to avoid taking it on themselves.

We hope that as Gov. Martinez moves into the latter part of her 2nd term in office (without guarantees that future governors will wish to record and archive committee hearings), that the Legislature will take action to formalize its recording and archiving procedures.

Unfortunately, the bad news is committee archiving was the only consideration that my pre-session recommendations relating to government openness and transparency received. Prior to the session, I approached some legislators urging them to address the onerous number of signatures required for 3rd party candidates to run for the Legislature.

New Mexico is the only state that forces the nominee of a qualified party to submit a petition to achieve ballot access and the signature requirement for Libertarians, Greens, and other third parties is several multiples that for Republicans or Democrats.

Lest you think these signature requirements are not onerous, according to Ballot Access News, New Mexico had fewer third party candidates on the ballot for the last 13 years than any other state. This, despite the fact that “independent” is the single-largest (and fastest-growing) voting bloc in our state.

Unfortunately, asking McDonald’s and Wendy’s to make it easier for Burger King to set up shop is just as difficult as it sounds. Legislation to make the ballot access process fairer for third parties was not considered in 2015.

Another transparency issue that other states are considering and adopting while New Mexico stands flat-footed is the allowance of remote legislative testimony. Two large, Western states, Alaska and Nevada, have allowed remote testimony before legislative committees for years. Washington State and neighboring Colorado have recently adopted remote testimony for legislative hearings.

Since New Mexico is the 5th-largest state in land area and among the least populous states, allowing witnesses to testify remotely After all, not everyone has the time or freedom to spend a day or two to drive from Hobbs or Las Cruces to attend legislative hearings. There are also plenty of expert witnesses around the nation whose schedules don’t permit them to travel all the way to New Mexico to spend between 5 and 30 minutes testifying on a bill.

Shouldn’t New Mexico legislators have the best information available to them from top experts and concerned citizens, not just from those who can get off from work for a day?

Lastly, prior to the session, I urged legislators to consider adding the names of all government workers to the Sunshine Portal listing of government employees and salaries. This was the case prior to a judge’s 2012 ruling (at the behest of the AFSCME government employee union) which required the names of non-exempt government workers’ names to be pulled off of the Portal.

As with these other issues, nothing happened with this issue during the 2015 session. Dozens of other states and literally hundreds of local governments post this (publicly-available) information online. Again, Gov. Martinez has taken it upon herself to post this information elsewhere on the Internet at: http://employees.newmexico.gov/. However, a judge ruled that the law did not provide for this public information to be posted on the Sunshine Portal. That should change.

On several other issues, the Legislature took important actions on transparency during 2015, but when it came to these priorities as outlined by the Rio Grande Foundation and other groups, not much was achieved.

Paul Gessing is the President of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility. The views in this column do not reflect the views or opinions of New Mexico In Depth.

Blue Bell recalls all products sold in New Mexico due to listeria concern - KRQE News 13

New Mexico News from Google ... - Tue, 2015-04-21 11:12

KRQE News 13

Blue Bell recalls all products sold in New Mexico due to listeria concern
KRQE News 13
This recall includes ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks made at all Blue Bell facilities and sold in New Mexico. If you have any of the recalled products in your freezer, they should be thrown away or returned to the store where you ...
Blue Bell Creameries issues recall of all productsKOAT Albuquerque
Blue Bell recalls all productsDeming Headlight
Blue Bell Creameries issues all-product recall for listeria fearNew York Post
Albuquerque Journal
all 1,054 news articles »
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'Independence Day 2' to begin filming in New Mexico - Santa Fe New Mexican

New Mexico News from Google ... - Tue, 2015-04-21 10:09

'Independence Day 2' to begin filming in New Mexico
Santa Fe New Mexican
4 Remaining Thanks for visiting Santa Fe New Mexican. If you are 7-day print subscriber, please create an online account and then click 'subscribe' to activate your unlimited access. Otherwise, you're entitled to view 5 free articles every 30 days ...

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Transparency in the 2015 New Mexico Legislature - New Mexico In Depth

New Mexico News from Google ... - Tue, 2015-04-21 09:48

New Mexico In Depth

Transparency in the 2015 New Mexico Legislature
New Mexico In Depth
How did transparency and open government fare during New Mexico's 2015 legislative session? Prior to the 2015 session, I urged legislators to consider a variety of reforms. Some of my ideas were discussed and acted upon while others were ignored ...

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Categories: News

New Mexico's Civil Asset Forfeiture Success | by Paul Gessing - New Mexico Political Report

New Mexico News from Google ... - Tue, 2015-04-21 07:02

New Mexico Political Report

New Mexico's Civil Asset Forfeiture Success | by Paul Gessing
New Mexico Political Report
PAUL GESSING is president of New Mexico's Rio Grande Foundation, an independent, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic ...
New Mexico's civil asset forfeiture successWatchdog.org
Above the Law: Report Finds Extensive Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuses by ...The Daily Chronic

all 9 news articles »
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St. John's New Mexico campus designated historic - Albuquerque Business First (blog)

New Mexico News from Google ... - Tue, 2015-04-21 06:12

Albuquerque Business First (blog)

St. John's New Mexico campus designated historic
Albuquerque Business First (blog)
St. John's is noted for its celebration of the Territorial-Revival building style, which Meem practiced at St. John's and on other New Mexico projects like Los Poblanos Inn in Albuquerque. Meem, who for decades was architect for the University of New ...

Categories: News

Made in New Mexico: 'Independence Day 2' - Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico News from Google ... - Tue, 2015-04-21 00:04

Albuquerque Journal

Made in New Mexico: 'Independence Day 2'
Albuquerque Journal
“I'm beyond excited to bring the sequel to 'Independence Day' to New Mexico,” Emmerich said. “With their state-of-the-art Albuquerque Studios, the robust tax-incentive program, the proximity to Los Angeles and, last not but least, its talented cast and ...

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10 listeria illnesses now linked to Blue Bell foods, CDC says

New Mexico News from FoxNews.com ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 22:00
Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries has recalled all of its products after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria.
Categories: News

Blue Bell Creameries issues voluntary recall of all products after positive Listeria test

New Mexico News from FoxNews.com ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 22:00
Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries issued a voluntary recall for all of its products late Monday after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for potentially deadly listeria bacteria.
Categories: News

6 from Minnesota charged with trying to join Islamic State group

New Mexico News from FoxNews.com ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 22:00
When Guled Ali Omar made up his mind to join the Islamic State group, he wasn't easily deterred.
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New Mexico teacher charged with alleged sexual relationship with student - KRQE News 13

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 21:12

KRQE News 13

New Mexico teacher charged with alleged sexual relationship with student
KRQE News 13
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A teacher is facing serious charges after having a suspected sexual relationship with a student. 31-year old Gary Vau was a volunteer teacher at Saint Mary's High School in Las Cruces. Police say he started a sexual relationship ...

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Anonymous New Mexico woman gifts $2100 wedding ring - WWMT-TV

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 20:59

wnep.com

Anonymous New Mexico woman gifts $2100 wedding ring
WWMT-TV
NEW MEXICO (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A New Mexico woman's engagement didn't work out, but instead of selling her diamond ring, she wanted to find a deserving couple to give it to. With the help of social media, she quickly found Josh Michaels and his ...
Woman Gifts Engagement Ring to Man Battling Cancer, Fiancewnep.com

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New Mexico donut shop gets national attention - KRQE News 13

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 20:47

New Mexico donut shop gets national attention
KRQE News 13
SANTA FE (KRQE) – One New Mexico donut shop is getting some national recognition. The website Thrillist ranked the top 33 donut shops in America. One New Mexico donut shop made the list. It's Whoo's Donuts in Santa Fe. The author of the article said ...

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Blue Bell Creameries issues recall of all products - KOAT Albuquerque

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 20:32

KXII-TV

Blue Bell Creameries issues recall of all products
KOAT Albuquerque
Egypt's ousted president sentenced to 20 years 1min. Full Coverage. Breaking News. Home; / New Mexico News. Blue Bell Creameries issues recall of all products. Published 8:30 PM MDT Apr 20, 2015. NEXT STORY. Camper ran into woods after 'psychotic ...
Blue Bell recalls all products after new contaminationKXII-TV
Blue Bell recalls all its products in listeria scareAlbuquerque Journal

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DA finds New Mexico State Police sergeant was justified in Spencerville shooting - Farmington Daily Times

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 17:45

KOB.com

DA finds New Mexico State Police sergeant was justified in Spencerville shooting
Farmington Daily Times
FARMINGTON — The San Juan County District Attorney's Office will not pursue criminal charges against the New Mexico State Police sergeant who fatally shot a 27-year-old man in Spencerville last year. The office said in a letter sent to state police on ...
NM officer won't face charges in November shooting deathLas Cruces Sun-News

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New Mexico native named Miss Hozhoni - The Durango Herald

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 16:20

The Durango Herald

New Mexico native named Miss Hozhoni
The Durango Herald
As Miss Hozhoni she will be an ambassador for the college's Native American community, and she hopes to not only attend formal functions on campus, but visit pueblos in New Mexico to talk about importance of education. The candidates competed in four ...

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New Mexico is latest state to pass online voter registration law - Tampabay.com (blog)

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 15:30

New Mexico is latest state to pass online voter registration law
Tampabay.com (blog)
Add New Mexico to the list of states with a new law that allows voters to register or update their voting information online. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez signed the "paperless registration" bill into law after it passed the state Legislature ...

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Authorities make arrest in Red River killing - Santa Fe New Mexican

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 14:40

Santa Fe New Mexican

Authorities make arrest in Red River killing
Santa Fe New Mexican
As law enforcement continued their investigation well into the morning, the New Mexico State Police Crime Scene Team stuck out as an unusual sight in Red River, a community of fewer than 500 residents nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Teen accused of shooting, killing teen in Red RiverKOAT Albuquerque

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Michael Douglas talks new thriller, health scare

New Mexico News from FoxNews.com ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 13:56
70-year-old actor shows no signs of slowing down
Categories: News

Teen shot, killed Monday in Red River - KOAT Albuquerque

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-04-20 12:29

Teen shot, killed Monday in Red River
KOAT Albuquerque
RED RIVER, N.M. —A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed early Monday morning in the 420 block of East Main Street, according to the Sangre de Cristo Chronicle. Related. Missing woman found dead · Health inspectors give out passing grades · 71-year-old ...

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