COMMENTARY: Still in service to the people; the New Mexico State Legislature; 70 Representatives and 42 Senators. They will remain in service to the people until;
“… New Mexico legislative terms expire on December 31 every two or four years, however, incumbents remain in office until their successor is officially sworn in on the third Tuesday in January after the election.”
Each of them still has duties, responsibilities and obligations to honor in the “interim” — the ten and a half months they are not “in session.”
The people of New Mexico have been issued an assurance by the leadership of the Senate: A bill will be written during the interim to address the demand for an ethics commission. The assurance was later walked back; in the interim they would get ready to begin work after the next session begins.
We have been assured; they can and will write a bill that will sail smoothly through the next legislative session.
The assurance means nothing.
They cannot assure us that someone else will do anything at all. Such an assurance could be offered only if they were guaranteed re-election. There is no representative or senator who is guaranteed re-election. Their re-election is not guaranteed, or even likely, after an ethics, standards and accountability fight in which they find themselves on the wrong side of history.
There are those in the sitting Legislature who would rather have the next Legislature deal with the ethics commission. Most of those would rather not be held accountable during the election for their obfuscation of critically necessary reform.
It is well within the realm of possibility to write the enabling bill in less than two months. A small group of people could write a bill that would provide whatever constitutional or statutory reform is necessary to end the culture of corruption and incompetence in New Mexico state government.
If the bill were written before the elections instead of after them, the elections could be used to hold legislators accountable for their part in writing the bill and their willingness to support the bill if they are re-elected.
I propose that the sitting state Legislature be put on notice. Write a bill that addresses the inadequacies in:
- the Open Meetings Act.
- the Inspection of Public Records Act.
- the Governmental Conduct Act.
Get it done in time to be held accountable for your production in the June primary elections.
I would like to start an online petition. The first draft reads:
Petition to members of the New Mexico State Legislature
We, the undersigned, insist that you prepare (in time for the primary and general elections) your proposal for the constitutional and statutory reform that will end, at once and for all, the culture of corruption and incompetence in government in New Mexico.
I would appreciate input on the wording, and help in putting together a valid and reliable online petition.
I am grateful for your time and attention.
Ched MacQuigg is a retired shop teacher and blogger. He has been a longtime advocate of honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct for politicians and public servants — in particular for the leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools.