SANTA FE ― The House of Representatives approved a proposed constitutional amendment to establish an independent state ethics commission.
House Joint Resolution 5, sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines and co-sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, passed on a vote of 50 to 10 Tuesday evening. Passage of this resolution would give New Mexico voters the option to adopt this commission in the next election.
“New Mexico needs an ethics commission that is independent and transparent,” Dines said. “I appreciate the input and guidance provided by my colleagues to help me refine this resolution. I hope the Senate will also pass this resolution and put the question before the voters of New Mexico for their approval.”
The independent ethics commission proposed by Dines would be made up of nine members – Republicans, Democrats and an Independent. All hearings and findings of this commission would be open to the public.
The proposed commission would review complaints made against public officials, employees, government contractors and lobbyists. It would also have the authority to initiate inquiries and issue subpoenas. Importantly, it would be able to review rules governing ethical conduct and provide guidance to public officials through the issuance of advisory opinions.
The proposed commission would oversee the legislative and executive branches of state government. The judicial branch of state government has its own Judicial Standards Commission, and it is not included in the legislation.