- Constitutional Amendment Would Allow Voters to Establish Nominating Committees to Recommend Candidates
SANTA FE – Legislation to improve the way New Mexico picks regents to run the state’s universities has received a “Do Pass” from the House Education Committee.
House Joint Resolution (HJR) 7, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Doña Ana, would create a constitutional amendment allowing voters to establish nominating committees to recommend qualified regent candidates to the Governor for consideration. HJR 7 now heads to the House Voters and Elections Committee.
Currently, regents are not required to have any set qualifications. They are considered political plum assignments often given to good supporters of the sitting Governor.
“It’s time to reform our regent selection process to ensure that we pick our best and brightest to run our universities,” Steinborn said. “I appreciate the support of the House Education Committee to move this legislation forward.”
The Resolution calls for the creation of bipartisan nominating committees that would recommend to the Governor the best candidates interested in serving as a regent. Under new language in the resolution, the committees would also include members of the faculty, student body and community where the educational institution resides.
There would be committees set up for each of the schools included in Article 12 of the New Mexico constitution, which includes University of New Mexicoo, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, Western New Mexico University, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico Military Institute, the New Mexico School for the Deaf and the New Mexico School for the Blind.
If the resolution passes the legislature, it would go on the General Election ballot in November, giving voters the choice of establishing the Regent nominating committees.