Transparency

Associated Press, Susan Montoya Bryan

New Mexico taxpayers have invested over $225 million into Spaceport America and after many years of waiting, they finally saw Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson blast into space on July 11th. More flights will follow customers paying up to $450,000 for a seat. The event drew media from around the world. But their ability to cover the flight was severely curtailed.

Journalist Explores Role Of Lobbyists In Legislature

Feb 5, 2021
formulaone via Wikimedia / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

With pandemic restrictions at the Roundhouse this year, lobbyists have found themselves on the outside of a process in which they’re often the ultimate insiders. Bryan Metzger is a reporting fellow with New Mexico In Depth who recently looked at the outsized role lobbyists have in our unpaid citizen legislature. He spoke with New Mexico PBS senior producer Matt Grubs. See the full interview here.

No More Normal: This Will Be On The Exam

Aug 23, 2020
Photo by Nani Chacon

In the old days—like last year—mid-August was a time when students prepared to get back to class. A time to reconnect with friends and compare summer vacation stories and to show off the fashion of your new school outfits, if you were so lucky. In 2020, instead of students worrying about who has a crush on who, they’re thinking about who has COVID and who doesn't. Parents are concerned with how their kids will get a quality education. Teachers are not only focused on the adjustment to teaching remotely but on the health risks of being called back to campus. In Episode 6, we hear from a panel of teachers, students in three different levels of school, a union rep for college instructors, Khalil’s mom Olufemi Ekulona, as well as renowned anti-racism educator Jane Elliott. Break out your notebooks. There’s a lot to learn, and what is covered today will be on the exam.

No More Normal: The Streets Are Hot

Aug 2, 2020
Marisa Demarco / KUNM

In the last weeks of July, we saw high temperatures across the country. The streets heated up, and we’re not talking about the weather. We’re talking about federal forces sent to Portland, Chicago, Albuquerque and other cities. The arrival of these agents was met with public outcry and increased skepticism by lawmakers and residents alike. Others support the move. In episode 3, we take a look at what exactly is going on and what it means for our civil liberties and our democracy.

Granger Meador via Flickr / Creative Commons

The New Mexico Legislature encountered many technical hurdles during its first day of the emergency special session called to patch up a budget thrashed by coronavirus. But the Roundhouse is also closed to the public due to concerns about viral spread; lawmakers, staffers and the media are the only ones allowed in the building. The doors are locked. There was a small group of protesters outside on Thursday wanting to go in and see their lawmakers in action. KUNM’s Nash Jones spoke with Khalil Ekulona, host of Your New Mexico Government, about a session that’s hard to access in every way.

Courtesy of Meow Wolf

Julia Goldberg from The Santa Fe Reporter joins the show to talk about benefit corporations and HB118. Benefit corporations are a new positive trend in the business world. We talk about how New Mexico can get on board with a movement that is seen by many as positive for the community. 

Take a look at Julia's article on benefit corporations here 

Matt Grubs from New Mexico PBS joins the program to talk about Senate Joint Resolution 7. What is SJ7? If it passes it would pave the way for New Mexico to have a professional legislature. Matt discusses where it stands at the Roundhouse and what that would mean for the state. We also discuss the budget, the opportunity scholarship, and the legal settlement transparency act. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

New Mexico Senators asked a local news reporter to leave a committee meeting Thursday at the Roundhouse, citing a Senate rule that bars recording these public meetings without permission from the head of the committee. 

Lawyers say this may be a violation of First Amendment freedom of the press, and some lawmakers want the rule changed to allow full transparency. 

Waferboard via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Kaveh Mowahed comes into the studio to talk about lobbyists and ethics. The New Mexico Ethics Watch commission just released a report. (Check it out here.) It has a few recommendations to help add more transparency to our state government. Listen close as Kaveh and I talk about the latest developments. 

Robert Smith / Creative Commons

Matt Grubs from New Mexico PBS talks with me about some of the budget issues being addressed in this year's session. The Legal Settlement Transparency Bill (SB 64), fixes to PERA and what that will mean for the state's retirement fund, as well as the 2020 budget passing the House Appropriations committee are all on deck for our conversation.

Smallman12q via Wikimedia Commons / creative commons license

When Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent 50 state police officers to patrol parts of Albuquerque in mid-May, Mayor Tim Keller announced the operation, saying it was intended to fight violent crime. Officials touted the hundreds of arrests state police officers made, but residents in targeted communities said the sudden over-policing was familiar and felt like a siege.

Legislature Trying To Stream All Committees

Jul 10, 2019
Arianna Sena / KUNM

When the Legislature is not in session in New Mexico, lawmakers still meet and hold hearings about things like education funding, solitary confinement, green energy jobs and more. When these off-session meetings happen in Santa Fe, they’re live-streamed, and anyone around the state can tune in. But if they’re held anywhere else in New Mexico, the public’s out of luck. That might be changing.

no author / public domain via goodfreephotos.com

For decades, legislators have repeatedly fumbled the creation of an ethics commission to stop government corruption. But voters demanded one overwhelmingly in November, and now it’s on some of the very people the commission would police—state lawmakers—to decide what it can and can’t do. They’re considering two bills this year: one where people can see what the commission’s up to and one where it’s mostly secret.

What Does Good Government Look Like To You?

Mar 31, 2017
Richie Diesterheft via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS

To get a sense of how New Mexicans feel about good government and accountability in advance of our interactive community event on Tuesday April 4, 2017, we sent People, Power, and Democracy reporter Jeremy Zeilik to find out.

Ethics And Transparency In The 2017 Legislature

Mar 22, 2017
Richie Diesterheft via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS

These are some of the major ethics and transparency measures that flew or floundered during this year's 60-day legislative session.

Arianna Sena/KUNM

KUNM Call In Show 3/23 8a: Call now toll-free 1-877-899-5866.  This year's 60-day legislative session wrapped up last weekend, but lawmakers may soon be called back by Governor Susana Martinez to continue debate on the state budget. We'll look at the latest news from the Roundhouse and we ask you to share what you think would make state government more accessible and accountable to everyday New Mexicans.

EVENT: How Would You Improve State Government?

Mar 17, 2017
NMPBS

Interactive Event Tuesday 4/4 6p: Join the People, Power and Democracy project to share your thoughts on how to improve state government.

Arianna Sena / KUNM

Gov. Susana Martinez stood before the state’s lawmakers to give her sixth State of the State address on Tuesday. She called for transparency and good government. 

Wikimedia via CC / creative commons license

University of New Mexico regents voted Monday, March 14, to put themselves in charge of the Health Sciences Center despite public objections to the sudden shift.

Did Lawmakers Act To Improve Public Trust?

Feb 22, 2016
Gwyneth Doland

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/25 8a:  

State legislators passed a budget, created a REAL-ID driver's license fix, cracked down on DWI and child porn and advanced bail reform. But did they do anything to reverse the tide of indicators that New Mexicans have lost faith in state government? We look at what lawmakers did, or didn't do, to restore the public trust. 

Lobbyist Reform Proposal Fails

Feb 17, 2016
Marissa Higdon

A senate committee killed a proposal Tuesday that would have required lobbyists to disclose more about how they influence lawmakers in Santa Fe.

State House Votes for More Lobbying Disclosure

Feb 15, 2016
Jen Gallardo via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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.

Bill Would Require Details From Lobbyists

Feb 12, 2016
Waferboard via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A recent poll found 89 percent of New Mexico business leaders want to know more about how lobbyists spend money to influence lawmakers.

A House committee is reviewing Democratic Rep. Jeff Steinborn’s bill that would require lobbyists to disclose exactly how much money they spend and which lawmakers are the recipients of that money. Currently, lobbyists are only required to disclose how much money they spent in all.

“Information is power,” Steinborn said. “It’s important for transparency so citizens can see who is being wined and dined, who is being given gifts.”

Commentary: When Will We Get An Ethics Commission?

Feb 5, 2016
JuditK via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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

Is 'Crony Capitalism' Stalling NM's Economy?

Feb 2, 2016
starreyez024 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/4 8a: A new report says New Mexico’s economy isn’t growing because it’s based on “crony capitalism,” meaning our government responds to the needs interests of a few powerful, wealthy interests—leaving the rest of us pay the price. 

Daniel Kulinki via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico lawmakers are readying their infrastructure wishlists for this year’s session. But some believe the capital outlay system – that funds our roads, water systems and university buildings - is completely broken. Fred Nathan of Think New Mexico says more transparency and a merit-based system would be the best solution.

tiff_ku1 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

It’s the second week of the 2016 state legislature and lawmakers are considering a range of measures to increase transparency and accountability in  government. Susan Boe of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government says, in a time of growing mistrust of public  officials, transparency is more important than ever.

LISTEN: Will New Mexico Try To Clean Up Politics?

Jan 13, 2016

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 01/14 8a: 

The state Legislature is getting ready to meet this month in Santa Fe and lawmakers will be focused on putting together a budget. But many people are hoping lawmakers will also address recent high-profile corruption cases and pass tougher measures to keep government clean. 

Report: NM Ranks Low For Ethics, Accountability

Nov 9, 2015
Emilie Udell for the Center For Public Integrity

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 11/12 8a: 

It’s become habit in New Mexico to groan about incompetence and corruption in state government as though it’s something terrible—but out of our control. Ugh, these politicians. What can you do? 

Governor Signs Health Care Price Comparison Bill

Apr 10, 2015
Leo Reynolds via CC

Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill today that makes it so people seeking health care can find out what different routine procedures cost at hospitals around the state. Fourteen other states have these websites.

Patients will be able to shop around and find the best deal on medical procedures—and see which hospitals perform them best—when a new public website goes up. Prices of vary drastically from hospital to hospital, according to Think New Mexico’s Fred Nathan, and unveiling the price tags actually drives costs down.

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