Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, at a news conference this morning, said she'll fight for three ethics/transparency bills.

They are:

* HB272, sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey, which would eliminate exemptions from campaign finance reporting and would mandate quarterly reporting of campaign finances in off-election years. Currently candidates only have to report once a year during off years.

* HB507, sponsored by Rep. Ken Martinez. This would expand the Inspection of Public Records Act, which would reduce the response time to public record requests from 14 to 10 days. (As it stands now, 14 days is supposed to be the maximum time allowed. However, in recent years, state government frequently takes the max time for even simple requests.) The bill also would establish a "double-check redaction system "oriented toward openness." Denish's news release says this is intended to reduce the number of redactions. (I've yet to study this bill, so I'll reserve judgement on whether it actually would reduce blacked-out information.)

* A bill, to be dropped today by Rep. Al Park, that would require all contractors doing business with the state to be listed in an online, searchable database tha would include the company's name, the contract and how much it's worth. (This would make it easier for us to compare with campaign contributions. In fact, if I was a legislator, I'd offer an amendment to include all campaign contributions as part of this database.)

Denish said she expects these bills to do well in the House, but said they will have a tougher time in the Senate -- which long-time observers know is the place they send ethics bills to die lonesome deaths.

Read more about this in Wednesday's New Mexican.

UPDATE: Park's bill has been dropped. It's HB546. (It's on on the Legislature Web site yet, but check HERE later.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Denish's office sent out a correction on the number of days to respond to open records requests in HB507. I made the change above.