Public disclosure of legislation a lobbyist works on moves forward

Lobbyist Tom Horan talks to the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs committee about why he opposes a lobbyist disclosure bill during the 2019 legislative session. An effort to require more transparency from lobbyists passed its first hurdle in the House. The idea behind HB 131 is pretty simple: lobbyists would report a few weeks after a legislative session ends what bills they worked on, including their position on each bill, if they had one. One of the bill co-sponsors said the measure aimed to help the public have a greater understanding of how policy is made. “We’re approached in the hallway, approached in the bar, people talk to you at a reception,” Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, told the House’s State Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee Monday.

Senate Rules quick to pass lobbyist loophole fix

The Senate Rules committee made quick work this morning passing a bill to reverse a measure in 2016 that reduced the amount of spending lobbyists are required to report. This year’s bill, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, is included on the so-called “rocket docket,” a list of bills assigned to just one committee with the goal of fast-tracking them for signature by New Mexico’s new Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham. This video created by New Mexico In Depth in 2017 features Ivey-Soto explaining the problem created by the 2016 changes to lobbyist disclosure requirements.The rocket docket bills all previously passed the Legislature only to be vetoed by former Republican governor Susana Martinez. In her speech to a joint session of the Legislature on opening day, Lujan Grisham singled out Ivey-Soto’s bill, saying she favored signing the lobbyist disclosure measure. In front of the Senate Rules committee today, Ivey-Soto gave a familiar rundown of what happened in 2016, explaining that a bill he sponsored that year “inadvertently” dropped requirements that lobbyists report spending under $100.

Lobbyists dole out quarter million in lead up to session

Santa Fe is known for food. Really good food. In fact, the culinary scene is known to foodies across the country – maybe the globe – thanks to periodic travel and food pieces over the decades in a variety of publications, including the New York Times. So it is no surprise that lobbyists would exploit Santa Fe’s culinary abundance as a way to build or maintain relationships with New Mexico’s policy makers. Forty one lobbyists, according to filings at the Secretary of State’s office, spent $35,000 since early October, about half of it at restaurants and hotels, on small groups of legislators, or in a few cases, legislative committees.

Ski passes, newspaper ads and meals: A look inside lobbyist spending during the session

What do ski passes, meals and newspaper ads all have in common? Lobbyists or their employers have purchased them in recent weeks as part of their ongoing efforts to build relationships with or bring lawmakers around to their perspectives on issues. According to mandatory reports filed since January 17th, lobbyists or their employers have spent more than $75,111 so far this session, slightly more than $68,000 spent by this time last year. About half the expenses were in the form of meals at restaurants in and around the Roundhouse, mostly larger events to which all legislators were invited. Lobbyist Natasha Ning told New Mexico In Depth (NMID) she was lobbying to establish a new scholarship at New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI), called the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship.

Compliance with ABQ lobbying rules falls way short

One way to cut through the din of constant political noise during an election is to look at the money flowing through the political system. Laws that require campaign and lobbying reports are meant to help the public learn about groups or people attempting to influence election outcomes through donations, or official decisions by spending money on elected officials once they’re in office. Those laws are only worthwhile, though, when they are followed. Take, for example, Albuquerque’s lobbying ordinance. It looks good on paper.