House Judiciary Committee passes HJM 10

Update: February 7

HJM 10 – Fix-it America Constitutional Amendment was passed in the NM House of Representatives, 41 to 28.

We encourage interested citizens to continue following HJM 10 as it heads to the Senate. Contact your NM Senators and let them know your thoughts. Follow the legislature at www.nmlegis.gov.

A Summary of House Judiciary Committee hearing held Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 on HJM 10

by John L. House

The Fix It America Amendment hearing commenced with Vice Chair Javier Martinez, presiding, and Representatives, Eliseo Lee Alcon, Zachary J. Cook, Jim Dines, Daymon Ely, Georgene Louis, Mathew McQueen, Greg Nibert, and Bill Rehm in attendance. Chair Gail Chasey, Speaker Brian Egolf and Representative Cathrynn N. Brown joined later in the proceeding.

John House and Bruce Berlin from NMMOP spoke in favor of the memorial, along with Laura Atkins speaking for the League of Woman Voters and several other supporting voices. Speaking against was the New Mexico director of the ACLU and someone from Concerned Veterans of America, a Koch brothers funded organization.

A motion was made to delete the penultimate sentence of Section 1 declaring that no regulation of money in campaigns would be deemed to violate freedom of speech rights after slippery slope arguments were made by Reps. Dines and Nibert about possible undesirable effects of such language upon 1st Amendment rights. The motion failed 5-4.

Some concerns were expressed about the phrase “Congress and the State Legislatures shall” in the first sentence of Section 1. Speaker Egolf proposed an amendment to resolve the controversy over this language. He suggested the language “Congress and the States shall have the power to…” replace the original language in the first sentence of Section 1. Unfortunately, this change weakens the bill as it merely allows Congress and the states to regulate money in politics and rather than obligates them to do so.

With that amendment, the House Judiciary Committee passed HJM 10 on a vote of 8-3. The joint memorial, to regulate money in election campaigns, now moves forward to the House floor. While the memorial was scheduled for the House floor on Tuesday, January 30th, it was not heard. For moment-to-moment updates, go to www.nmlegis.gov.