Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, just had an impromptu, informal press conference here in the media room of the Capitol.

He spoke a lot about ethics bills. He said he understands the Senate Rules Committee plans to roll several of the proposed ethics bills -- including establishing an ethics commission, campaign contribution limits, and bills dealing with contributions by state contractors -- into one big ethics bill. Sanchez said he doesn't think there's enough support this year for including public campaign financing, mainly because of the budget crisis.

Sanchez also said he's heard rumblings of a possible amendment or separate bill that would require non-profit groups -- such as the Center for Civic Policy -- to disclose its contributors. We could dub that the Shannon's Revenge Act.

Sanchez said he believes there's a very good chance a serious ethics bill will pass the Legislature this year.

He also said he believes the bill to abolish the death penalty has the best chance it ever had. But he quickly added, "I thought the same thing about domestic partnerships." He admitted the death penalty bill could run into trouble -- again -- in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which yesterday failed to pass the domestic partnership bill.

Another bill Sanchez said has a good chance of passing is the bill to open conference committees -- even though Sanchez himself opposes that move. He said opening conference committees would encourage members to get together away from the Capitol to decide on the bills that go to conference.

Like most people this year, Sanchez said he's seen very little of Gov. Bill Richardson. "He hasn't call me up to his office," Sanchez said. "I'm not one of the people he usually calls."