Several bills related to transparency are up for hearing this legislative session, including a capital outlay bill introduced by Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Santa Fe.
The proposal, HB 121, would make public information about capital projects—and who funds them. That information is currently kept private. Detailed information including the amount of money given to projects is protected under statute. That means there is no way for the public to know how much money their lawmakers individually allocate to a capital project.
“We have the authority to allocate money, people should know how we’re allocating that money,” Rep. McQueen said in an interview. New Mexico In Depth caught up with Rep. McQueen to learn about his bill.
Sen. Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque) also has a transparency bill that would require the same information to be published online, SB 25. His bill would require lawmakers to make their capital project information available within three days after the governor acts on the bill, and provides that the web page needs to be user-friendly and practical.
Rep. Daymon Ely (D-Corrales) and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque) have a similar bill, HB 141.
All three bills would make paper copies of capital project information available upon request.
Melorie Begay, a junior majoring in multimedia journalism at the University of New Mexico, is a People, Power and Democracy 2017 intern working with New Mexico In Depth.