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No Ethics Commission This Year

Arianna Sena/KUNM

The state Senate halted an attempt to create an ethics commission on Tuesday that would have overseen the legislative and executive branches.

Members of the Senate Rules Committee wanted major revisions to the plan and the changes essentially gutted the bill of its authority. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jim Dines (R-Albuquerque) said if they were adopted he wouldn’t want his name on it.

Many lawmakers had expressed concerns that political opponents could attack them by lodging baseless complaints with such a commission.

Senate Republican Leader Stuart Ingle said early during the session that false accusations could cause irreparable harm.

“A lot of times, those allegations are untrue,” Ingle said. “And the thing about it is, if there’s an accusation, it’s printed on the front page. The withdrawal of the accusation is on page 16.”

Several senators said they liked the idea of a commission but that it needed more work.

Previous efforts to create an independent ethics commission have died in the Senate and Tuesday’s vote immediately triggered criticism online.

Check out all of the content from our People, Power and Democracy project. It's a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico In DepthNew Mexico PBS and the New Mexico News Port at UNM. Funding for the project comes from the Thornburg Foundation.

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