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Hope for Ethics Reform?

Hope for Ethics Reform?

'This proposal is the finest example of a balanced approach to creating an ethics commission that we have seen' -ABQ Chamber of Commerce

BY ABQ FREE PRESS STAFF

The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce has signed on in support of a constitutional amendment to establish a nine-member independent commission to oversee the conduct of state officers and employees of both the executive and legislative branches. The commission would have ethics authority over government contractors, those seeking contracts and lobbyists.

The ethic commission proposal co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines, an Albuquerque Republican, and Rep. Jeff Steinborn, a Las Cruces Democrat, passed the House 50-0. It now heads to the House.

People Power logoResearch by a non-profit collaborative journalism project, “People Power & Democracy,” has found that 80 percent of the public and a majority of New Mexico business leaders want action on ethics. The collaborative is a joint effort by New Mexico in Depth, New Mexico News Port and New Mexico PBS) that explores the influence of money in New Mexico politics. The project is funded by the Thornburg Foundation.

“This proposal is the finest example of a balanced approach to creating an ethics commission that we have seen. We think this will address concerns that many New Mexicans have,” said Terri Cole, President and CEO of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.

If it passes both houses of the Legislature, the proposed constitutional amendment would be placed before the voters in November.

Rep Jeff SteinbornRep Jim DinesSherman McCorkle, Vice Chair for Business Advocacy for the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce said, “The Chamber has not identified an ethics commission bill we could support in a number of years. The bill is thoughtful, evenhanded and non-political in its approach.”

Appointments to the commission will be made by the governor, both chambers in the Legislature, and the Supreme Court with the requirement that no more than four of the nine members can be from the same political party.

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Lex Voytek is a nervous wreck and reading quiets the noise. Reach her at books@freeabq.com.