Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hurry Up and Wait

Nothing much is happening now at the Roundhouse. At least not in public. The House Dems have been in caucus since the morning without coming up for air. Last night a veteran representative was joking with me about waterboarding dissident Dems -- specifically the ones who voted against the cigarette tax. Maybe they're doing that.

The Senate had a short floor session. The Senate Finance Committee met for awhile, without doing anything earth-shattering.

Earlier today, Think New Mexico delivered to the Governor's Office printouts of 511 e-mail letters from people protesting raising the tax on food. (That's a picture Jason Espinoza of Think New Mexico handing over the letters.

The governor's still signing bills from the regular session, (which seems like years ago ...)

Yesterday afternoon he signed SB 18, which restructures the State Investment Council.

“I have moved aggressively to restore confidence in our investment practices, and this new law will help ensure that our investments are not tainted in any way,” Gov. Richardson said in his news release.

The bill adds members to the State Investment Council -- including four appointed by the Legislature -- and will require appointed members to have 10 years of financial or investment experience. The bill also prohibits appointed members from having any contracts with state investment entities for two years prior to their appointment and for two years after their term ends.

However, the bill was amended during the legislative process. The fiscal impact report notes that contrary to the recommendations of Ennis Knupp, the Chicago consultants hired to examine the SIC, the governor and his appointees still will be the largest group on the council, accounting for five of the members.

Also, the governor will remain chairman of the council, also against the consultants' recommendations.

"Therefore if the amended legislation were enacted, the SIC would still be operating outside of national best practices and contradict numerous findings in the Ennis Knupp (report)," the fiscal impact report concludes. "This has the potential to create the risk that further turmoil and suspicion, from both a performance and reputational perspective, will continue to accompany these agencies at the potential cost of hundreds of millions of taxpayer and retiree dollars."

Oh well ....