KUNM

Bill To Create State Ethics Commission Moves Forward

Feb 17, 2017


A House committee in Santa Fe unanimously passed a measure Thursday that would create an independent state ethics commission.

Public support for an ethics commission to review complaints has increased in the wake of recent governmental scandals, said Heather Ferguson with Common Cause New Mexico, and there’s bipartisan support for this one. Could this be the year we get an ethics commission?

”We certainly hope so," Ferguson said. "We’ve had a number of high profile cases, like former Secretary of State Diana Duran who faced 65 counts of embezzlement and identity theft charges.”

The proposal, sponsored by Republican Representative Jim Dines of Albuquerque, would make all complaints and responses public, even those deemed as frivolous by the commission.

Opponents say the resolution would make it to easy for people to file complaints to hamper legislative work.

The resolution now heads to another committee. If lawmakers approve the bill during this session, voters will make the final call on the 2018 ballot.

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The People, Power and Democracy project examines ethics, transparency and accountability in state government. The project is funded by the Thornburg Foundation and by contributions from KUNM listeners.