Friday, March 18, 2011

Martinez Vetoes Info Sharing Bill

Following in the footsteps of her predecessor Bill Richardson, Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed Senate Bill 187 sponsored by Sen. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque and  Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Farmington.

The bill would have required government agencies to share information to a new Program Evaluation Division of the Legislative Finance Committee.

Richardson vetoed a similar bill in 2009, which prompted the Senate last year to override the veto. (The House didn’t go along with the override last year.)

The bill was sparked by the Legislative Finance Committee wanting a wide range of information about Medicaid -- including costs by companies that administer health care services through contracts with the state. The Human Services Department had refused to release the information to the Legislature.

Martinez in her executive order says she agrees with the intent of the legislation. But ....

"First, I am concerned that without the proper safeguards in place, the broad authority given to the Legislative Finance Committee’s Program Evaluation Division could compromise confidential information which is housed in executive State agencies and departments.

While confidential information, like an individual’s tax returns or sensitive law enforcement records, would normally be protected when an executive branch agency is responding to public information requests, there is no language in Senate Bill 187 that guarantees this same level of protection after the LFC receives the information from State agencies or departments. I am also concerned that there are not any penalties for the LFC’s potential release of this information.

In her executive message she also said "my administration will work in a cooperative manner to provide any information the Legislature deems necessary to make credible decisions on behalf of our constituents."

Here's a story about last year's override vote

UPDATE: 12:12 pm. I've been trying to upload a copy of the executive message, but SCRIBD is down for maintenance. Meanwhile, you can see the message HERE