UPDATED: House approves watered-down lobbyist bill

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The House voted Friday afternoon to send legislation that would require the creation of a searchable online database of lobbyists to the desk of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

The Senate voted 32 to 4 Thursday to approve the legislation. But the House had to decide whether to approve or reject changes made to the legislation by a Senate committee that further watered down the bill from its original form.

The House accepted the Senate changes on a voice vote after 5 p.m.

The original legislation, filed by Democratic Rep. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces, would have required hundreds of lobbyists to disclose the issues they were working on. It also would have mandated expense reports lobbyists file to “include the cumulative total of expenditures incurred by the lobbyist or their employer listed by each recipient,” according to a legislative report.

Lobbyists seeking to influence New Mexico state lawmakers currently don’t have to do any of that, making it difficult for the public to find out who exactly is seeking to  influence legislation and how much they are spending to accomplish that.

The legislation the House passed sending to the governor mandates the searchable database of lobbyists, which is an improvement over a list the Secretary of State’s office currently keeps online.

“It’s a small but important step,” Steinborn said of the altered bill Friday.


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