Common Cause New Mexico

The youngest stars are shown as red while more evolved stars are shown as blue.
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It’s a weird time. We’ve got a global pandemic, an uprising against racist police violence and a special legislative session dropped in the middle of it—the likes of which no one’s ever seen before. Maybe one that people still aren’t seeing because there have been so many access issues. In episode 79, we dig in to bring you what’s new and developing with the emergency legislative session. What bills have been passed, what is on the way and what is being held until January are just a few of the topics we cover. We talk with journalists from New Mexico PBS and the NM Political Report. We also hear from an advocate who is on the forefront of voting rights in tribal lands.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Big-money influences political races at every level around the U.S. Part of the answer, advocates say, is giving candidates access to public money for their campaigns. Albuquerque voters are weighing a ballot question aimed at making the local campaign financing system a more realistic and competitive option.

RICHIE DIESTERHEFT VIA FLICKR / CREATIVE COMMONS

Most other states around the country have some kind of watchdog agency in place to investigate politicians and other powerful people entrusted with public dollars. But New Mexico doesn’t have anything like that. So would a commission with the power to investigate and field ethics complaints help stop corruption here? The issue will be on ballots in November.

Early Voter Turnout Up In Albuquerque

Oct 3, 2017
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It is Election Day in Albuquerque, and if the early voter numbers are any indication, the city will see a larger turnout than in previous years.

Measure Would Take Redistricting From Lawmakers

Mar 3, 2017
New Mexico Legislature mapping tool

The 2020 census is fast approaching and some lawmakers in Santa Fe are pushing for voting districts to be redrawn by an independent commission.

Bill To Create State Ethics Commission Moves Forward

Feb 17, 2017
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A House committee in Santa Fe unanimously passed a measure Thursday that would create an independent state ethics commission.

State House Votes for More Lobbying Disclosure

Feb 15, 2016
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The state House voted Saturday to peel back the curtain a little on lobbying in Santa Fe, but it was a small step toward revealing how money flows through the halls of the Roundhouse.

Still Time For Ethics Commission

Feb 11, 2016
ANNAfoxlover via Wikimedia Commons / public domain

The state House voted Tuesday to create a statewide ethics commission. But will the proposal have time to get through the Senate? There are only eight days left in the session.

Commentary: When Will We Get An Ethics Commission?

Feb 5, 2016
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New Mexico is one of only 8 states that doesn’t have an ethics commission and lawmakers are considering a proposal to create one during the legislative session this year.

Viki Harrison of Common Cause New Mexico wants to know how big the scandal has to be before our state has one here? She asks, "What are we waiting for?"

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You can read Harrison's full length op-ed published by New Mexico In Depth here

Lobbyists Report Spending Nearly $300,000 During Session

Mar 25, 2015
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Lobbyists and their employers reported spending nearly $300,000 during the 60-day session that ended Saturday – and that’s just the spending that totaled more than $500 at a time.

State law requires lobbyists to report any spending of $500 or more within 48-hours. All told, lobbyists and employers reported spending $295,300 during the session. This session, that included spending on meals, receptions, teddy bears and more.

More lobbyists will report individual expenditures under $500 at a time in reports to be filed May 1.

Stripped-Down Lobbyist Disclosure Advances

Mar 9, 2015
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After stalling in committee last month, a bill requiring more transparency from lobbyists cruised through the state House Saturday after hitting only one last speed bump.

On Saturday, state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, unsuccessfully tried to amend the bill on the floor and put some of those requirements back in.

But with just two weeks left in the session, supporters of more transparency for lobbyists say even a stripped-down bill is an important first step.

Lobbyists Lax On Spending Disclosures

Feb 6, 2015
Sandra Fish / New Mexico In Depth

Ski passes. Dinner parties. Meals during committee hearings. Basketball and football tickets.

Individual lobbyists spent more than $1.6 million on gifts, meals and entertainment for New Mexico’s elected officials and staff in the four years from 2011 through 2014. Most of that went to the lawmakers in the New Mexico Legislature, but other elected officials and staffers benefitted too.

Over the same period businesses and organizations spent more than $379,000 directly to fete elected officials with parties, golf passes and more.

Groups Want More Disclosure Of Lobbyist Spending

Jan 22, 2015
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Steak dinners at fancy restaurants, breakfast burritos brought to committee meetings, lift tickets at ski resorts. Every year lobbyists spend big bucks on entertaining, many with the hope that they will get some time to talk with lawmakers about the issues they’re working on.

It’s been five years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, which lifted restrictions on expenditures and gave rise to groups known as Super Political Action Committees that have pumped millions of dollars of special interest money into the political system.