Transparency

Wikimedia via CC

University of New Mexico regents voted Monday, March 14, to put themselves in charge of the Health Sciences Center despite public objections to the sudden shift.

Gwyneth Doland

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/25 8a:  

State legislators passed a budget, created a REAL-ID driver's license fix, cracked down on DWI and child porn and advanced bail reform. But did they do anything to reverse the tide of indicators that New Mexicans have lost faith in state government? We look at what lawmakers did, or didn't do, to restore the public trust. 

Lobbyist Reform Proposal Fails

Feb 17, 2016
Marissa Higdon

A senate committee killed a proposal Tuesday that would have required lobbyists to disclose more about how they influence lawmakers in Santa Fe.

Jen Gallardo via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The state House voted Saturday to peel back the curtain a little on lobbying in Santa Fe, but it was a small step toward revealing how money flows through the halls of the Roundhouse.

Bill Would Require Details From Lobbyists

Feb 12, 2016
Waferboard via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A recent poll found 89 percent of New Mexico business leaders want to know more about how lobbyists spend money to influence lawmakers.

A House committee is reviewing Democratic Rep. Jeff Steinborn’s bill that would require lobbyists to disclose exactly how much money they spend and which lawmakers are the recipients of that money. Currently, lobbyists are only required to disclose how much money they spent in all.

“Information is power,” Steinborn said. “It’s important for transparency so citizens can see who is being wined and dined, who is being given gifts.”

Commentary: When Will We Get An Ethics Commission?

Feb 5, 2016
JuditK via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico is one of only 8 states that doesn’t have an ethics commission and lawmakers are considering a proposal to create one during the legislative session this year.

Viki Harrison of Common Cause New Mexico wants to know how big the scandal has to be before our state has one here? She asks, "What are we waiting for?"

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You can read Harrison's full length op-ed published by New Mexico In Depth here

starreyez024 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/4 8a: A new report says New Mexico’s economy isn’t growing because it’s based on “crony capitalism,” meaning our government responds to the needs interests of a few powerful, wealthy interests—leaving the rest of us pay the price. 

Daniel Kulinki via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico lawmakers are readying their infrastructure wishlists for this year’s session. But some believe the capital outlay system – that funds our roads, water systems and university buildings - is completely broken. Fred Nathan of Think New Mexico says more transparency and a merit-based system would be the best solution.

tiff_ku1 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

It’s the second week of the 2016 state legislature and lawmakers are considering a range of measures to increase transparency and accountability in  government. Susan Boe of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government says, in a time of growing mistrust of public  officials, transparency is more important than ever.

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 01/14 8a: 

The state Legislature is getting ready to meet this month in Santa Fe and lawmakers will be focused on putting together a budget. But many people are hoping lawmakers will also address recent high-profile corruption cases and pass tougher measures to keep government clean. 

Emilie Udell for the Center For Public Integrity

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 11/12 8a: 

It’s become habit in New Mexico to groan about incompetence and corruption in state government as though it’s something terrible—but out of our control. Ugh, these politicians. What can you do? 

Leo Reynolds via CC

Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill today that makes it so people seeking health care can find out what different routine procedures cost at hospitals around the state. Fourteen other states have these websites.

Patients will be able to shop around and find the best deal on medical procedures—and see which hospitals perform them best—when a new public website goes up. Prices of vary drastically from hospital to hospital, according to Think New Mexico’s Fred Nathan, and unveiling the price tags actually drives costs down.

Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Inevitably, when talking about oil and gas development, the word fracking comes up in conversation.

In the coming weeks, KUNM will be airing more feature stories on oil development in northwestern New Mexico. And I'll be posting here about some of the more technical issues I explore, such as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. 

Ed Williams

We recently published the first two stories in an ongoing series on pollution and the Rio Grande in which we plan to explore a range of topics and issues.

Arianna Sena

Scanned copies of all state contracts should be available on the Sunshine Portal, say two lawmakers who are proposing an update to the state transparency website.

Posting original documents would give New Mexicans a bigger window into state contracts, something that’s important to business owners, says one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque.

593D ESC via Flickr / Creative Commons License

    

Whether they’re shopping for a refrigerator, a laptop or a used car, most people do some comparison shopping before making a big purchase.

But that’s not the way healthcare works in New Mexico, where comparing prices for a hip replacement or asthma treatment is practically impossible. 

Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Skeptical lawmakers rejected a proposal Monday that would have given the public more information about lobbying at the state Legislature.

The bill (HB 155) would have required lobbyists to divulge their salaries, file reports of their estimated and actual lobbying expenses, and list the issues—but not the exact bills—they are working on.

Sandra Fish / New Mexico In Depth

Ski passes. Dinner parties. Meals during committee hearings. Basketball and football tickets.

Individual lobbyists spent more than $1.6 million on gifts, meals and entertainment for New Mexico’s elected officials and staff in the four years from 2011 through 2014. Most of that went to the lawmakers in the New Mexico Legislature, but other elected officials and staffers benefitted too.

Over the same period businesses and organizations spent more than $379,000 directly to fete elected officials with parties, golf passes and more.

Wikimedia Commons

As cleanup of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant commences, folks down south remain concerned about transparency and oversight.

Marisa Demarco

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez secured a second term last night, beating her Democratic challenger Gary King handily. Martinez emphasized bipartisanship during her acceptance speech at the Marriott in Albuquerque, which was packed with Republicans from around the state.

As Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela introduced Gov. Martinez late Tuesday night, he focused on her heart—perhaps a nod to opponent Gary King’s maligned comment about the governor’s not being Latino enough. 

Bill David Brooks via CC

A nonpartisan think tank in New Mexico released a report on health care costs this week suggesting that providers should be more transparent about the price of procedures up front.

Fred Nathan is the founder and executive director of Think New Mexico. The group’s report says New Mexicans are spending more out of their pockets for health care than ever before, and most of that extra money is going to administrative costs—not to doctors’ salaries or improved care for patients.

Bryant Furlow

When the New Mexico Human Services Department (NMHSD) announced last month it would suspend Medicaid payments to 15 behavioral health providers, Joe Frechen was worried.

For nearly 20 years, Frechen has worked as psychiatrist in Southern New Mexico with some of the most vulnerable patients in the region.