SANTA FE ― March 9 the House of Representatives unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 8, a proposal to establish an independent ethics commission in New Mexico. HJR 8 is sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines (R-Bernalillo).
HJR 8 would amend the New Mexico Constitution to create a seven-member independent commission, no more than three of which may belong to the same political party, to investigate and adjudicate ethics complaints against state officers and employees in the legislative and executive branches of government. It would also have jurisdiction over complaints made against lobbyists and government contractors. The commission would be able to issue advisory opinions, promulgate rules and issue subpoenas.
“Thanks to the discussions held during the committee meetings, we have been able to craft a good, tight proposal to present to the voters,” Dines said. “Every effort was made to preserve the commission’s transparency and authority. We also worked to remove partisan politics from the process. I am proud of the collaborative effort that went into crafting this resolution, and I am excited to bring this proposal to the Senate.”
HJR 8 is co-sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of legislators including, Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Doña Ana), Rep. Nathan Small (D-Doña Ana), Rep. Bill McCamley (D-Doña Ana), Rep. Daymon Ely (D-Bernalillo and Sandoval), Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R-Eddy), Rep. Rod Montoya (R-San Juan), Rep. Bill Rehm (R-Bernalillo) and Rep. Rick Little (R-Doña Ana and Otero).
HJR 8 now moves to the Senate for consideration. If approved by the Senate, the proposed constitutional amendment will be placed on the 2018 general election ballot for voter approval.