New Mexico is one of the few states that doesn’t have a state ethics commission, and Rep. Jim Dines, R-Bernalillo, hopes to change that. House Joint Resolution 8 proposes an independent ethics commission that oversees complaints concerning state officers and employees, lobbyists, campaigns, and state contractors.
Rep. Dines says the subpoena powers contained in the resolution are important.
“It gives the commission the ability to obtain records that are out there that would be able to help end the investigation of a potential ethics complaint,” said Rep. Jim Dines.
Co-sponsors of the bill include Rep. Jeff Seinborn (D- Doña Ana), Rep Nathan P. Small (D- Doña Ana), and Rep. Bill McCamley (D- Doña Ana).
Composition would be determined by the Governor, the Speaker of the House, the Senate Pro Tempore, and both Senate and House minority leaders, who together would appoint seven commissioners. The governor would appoint three commissioners, not all of the same party, while the others would each appoint one commissioner.
The commission would be granted the power to adjudicate complaints, but would need a vote of five—a super majority—in order to make any final decisions.
Ethics commissioners would serve a term of four years and can’t serve for more than two consecutive terms. If the proposal passes, the ethics commission would begin their duties on July 1, 2019.