Closed-Door Dealings Behind Special Session

Jun 8, 2015

Credit clang boom steam via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A special session of New Mexico’s legislature was held Monday to revisit unfinished business from earlier this year, but agreements on proposed legislation were seemingly already made behind closed doors.

A report from says many citizens object to the closed-door dealings because little is known of the negotiations or bill’s details.

Former state Representative Janice Arnold-Jones, a Republican, now sits on the board of the Foundation for Open Government. She said these dealings are not as opaque as they appear. She also said open meetings laws do not specifically bind the out-of-session negotiations or the special session as they would in regular session.

Arnold-Jones said, “I’m always concerned when things are done behind closed doors and as a legislator I didn’t like it that way, but I understand the Governor knows it needs to get done and set it up so it could get done.” 

In question were a capital outlay bill that would free about $295 million for infrastructure and economic development, a tax bill that would aid businesses and help citizens pay for medical expenses, and funding for the Department of Health and state courts.

Last month Martinez said she would not call for the session without a prearranged agreement between the House and Senate. Special sessions cost about $50,000 per day.