Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, said Wednesday he is getting a bum rap over this week’s sudden death of a proposed amendment to the N.M. Constitution to create a state ethics commission.
Rep. Jim Dines, R-Albuquerque, withdrew the proposal from the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday after he was presented with a committee substitute that he said would have made his bill “a toothless tiger.”
Ivey-Soto, a member of the Senate Rules Committee, told reporters at a news conference, “It is our responsibility to make sure that the bills that come across are appropriate, are thought out and will be implemented in a way that the public expects.”
Ivey-Soto reiterated that Dines didn’t have to withdraw his proposal. The senator also said he never actually saw the printed version of the committee substitute that Dines objected to. Ivey-Soto said that proposal came from suggestions from several Rules Committee members in informal meetings or “conversations.”
The substitute was unacceptable, a Common Cause New Mexico spokeswoman said earlier this week, because “There would be no transparency, no public hearings, no ability to adjudicate cases.” Common Cause New Mexico, a government watchdog group, for nearly a decade has advocated for creation of an ethics commission. Others have also criticized the substitute.
Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, who chairs Senate Rules, expects an interim subcommittee will discuss ethics commission legislation for next year.
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