SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A plan to create an ethics commission to evaluate complaints about the conduct and campaign finances of public officials in New Mexico received a unanimous endorsement in its first legislative committee hearing in Santa Fe.
Republican Jim Dines of Albuquerque fielded questions Friday from lawmakers about his proposed constitutional amendment to create an independent agency of nine ethics commissioners appointed by the governor, leaders of the state Senate and House, and the chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court.
The amendment would need to be approved by the Legislature and a statewide public vote in the fall. Competing initiatives for an ethics commission from House and Senate Democrats have languished so far.
Dines said officials accused of wrongdoing would have a chance to respond before complaints are published online.
Another bill is moving forward on Friday. The Return to Work bill passed its first house committee.
The State of New Mexico House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee approved the passage on a 5-3 vote.
“This legislation has been crafted in a way that every legislator can vote for it and feel good about their decision,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry. “Not only does it protect and even enhance pension solvency, it helps large and small communities attract police officers and sheriff deputies to keep our families safe.”