On Wednesday, June 12, 2019, The City Council of the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico, adopted NMMOP’s 28th Amendment resolution, a resolution calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution clarifying that the rights afforded under the Constitution belong to human beings only, not artificial entities, and that the federal, state and local government have the authority and obligation to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures in order to prevent corruption and the undue influence of wealthy persons and special interests upon our elected officials.
With a 14-10 vote, the New Hampshire General Court today became the 20th state legislature to call on Congress for a constitutional amendment allowing limits on political spending.
“I am elated that New Hampshire is the 20th state to call for constitutional amendment to address the role of money in our elections.” said Olivia Zink, Open Democracy Action, Executive Director. “We know Granite Staters care deeply about this problem: 82 towns passed local resolutions calling for this. Eight in ten of us think special interests have more influence than voters in New Hampshire politics. Now that this bill has been passed by the state Legislature, we call on our congressional delegation to take action, as well.”
Derry resident Corinne Dodge convinced her Town Council to pass a resolution four years ago, and then formed the grassroots group “NH Voters Restoring Democracy” to push for a constitutional amendment. “The future of our country is at stake: our children’s and grandchildren’ futures are at stake,” she said. “Government decisions that benefit wealthy campaign donors and large corporations are usually not good for the rest of us.”
“Recent polling shows that voters believe ‘political corruption’ is our nation’s #1 crisis,” said former NH State Sen. Jim Rubens, (R-Etna). “Government is increasingly picking economic winners via tax subsidies, regulatory favoritism and spending programs. Businesses compete by buying influence in Washington instead of offering better products and services to consumers. Crony capitalism in a direct result of our corrupt political system – and it is reducing public support for free-market capitalism.”
“HB504 is the best route to putting New Hampshire legislators back in control over campaign finance and spending here in New Hampshire,” Rubens said.
“We applaud the thousands of activists, organizers, and other citizens who fought for years in New Hampshire for the idea that our democracy belongs to all of us, not just corporations and the very wealthy. Misguided Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United let wealthy special interests set the political agenda at the expense of ordinary Americans, but activists nationwide are fighting back with measures like H.B. 504,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at the People For the American Way (PFAW).
“We hope that others will be as encouraged as we are by what organizers and policymakers have accomplished today in New Hampshire and use this moment to redouble our efforts to take back our democracy and to pass the Democracy For All amendment,” Baker added.
Legislatures in 19 other states have already called on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment and send it to the states for ratification.
“Everyone, of every political stripe, agrees that our elections are bought and paid for. This is not the representative democracy our founders wanted,” said Rep. Ellen Read (D-Newmarket), sponsor of the bill. “Today, New Hampshire has made a giant bipartisan statement that we won’t stand for corruption. That people are more important than money.”
— NH Labor News
Leaders of the American Promise Association (APA) recently succeeded to get an approval from the Santa Fe County Commission on a resolution supporting the 28th amendment.
An article in American Promise (linked below) features NM APA co-leader and NMMOP 28th Amendment Committee Chair Ishwari Sollohub’s commentary on the resolution as well an overview of its meaning and significance to New Mexico and the greater political scene. This was a big accomplishment, not only for the APA, but for like-minded citizens at large. The article also touches on the role of other communities in inspiring this kind of action and initiative.
Find the complete article here: http://www.americanpromise.net/a_win_for_in_new_mexico_thanks_to_citizen_leadership/
FINAL NMMOP LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – MARCH 21
BILLS THAT PASSED
HB 55 – National Popular Vote Compact, sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart
Passed House 41-27 and Senate 25-16. Signed by the Governor.
Bill enacts a Compact among the states to elect the President by the national popular vote, regardless of who wins the presidential election in New Mexico, or any other particular state. The Compact only takes effect once enough states with a collective number of 270 electoral votes (enough to elect a President) join the Compact.
SB 672 – Early and Auto Voter Registration, sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez, Sen. Ivey-Soto, Rep. Linda Trujillo
Passed both housed along party lines. Signed by the Governor.
A combination of HB 84, Auto Voter Reg at MVD; SB 50, State Agency Auto Voter Registration; HB 86, Election Day & Early Voting Registration; and SB 52– 3-Day Voter Reg.
Allows automatic voter registration at DMV and other state agencies, allows voter registration on election day. Election day provision will not take effect till 2021. Party affiliation changes are not allowed on election day in primary elections. Election day registrations require photo id.
SB 3 – Campaign Finance Reporting, sponsored by Sen. Wirth
Passed both houses, with some bipartisan support. Signed by the Governor.
SB 3 and SB 4 have been in the works for many years, both were passed last year and vetoed by Governor Martinez.
Bill amends the Campaign Reporting Act. It eliminates certain loopholes for independent expenditures, (i.e. those made other than by a candidate or campaign committee) by PACs (Political Action Committees) and others, e.g. requiring the source of last minute “hit” ads to be disclosed, and all political advertisements to identify whose paying for them. It would also simplify and bring into compliance other finance reporting rules, e.g., a person who makes an independent expenditure not otherwise required to be reported under the Campaign Reporting Act shall file a report with the secretary of state within: (1) three days of making the expenditure if the expenditure, by itself or aggregated with all independent expenditures made by the same person during the election cycle, exceeds one thousand dollars ($1,000) in a non-statewide election or three thousand dollars ($3,000) in a statewide election.
SB 4 – Campaign Public Finance Changes, sponsored by Sen. Wirth
Passed both houses, almost unanimously. Signed by the Governor.
Bill regulates public financing of campaigns including matching funds; limits distributions of funds to candidates in uncontested races; clarifies penalty provisions.
1.The bill promotes publicly financed campaigns by creating a ‘public election fund’ for the purposes of: (1) financing the election campaigns of certified candidates for covered offices, i.e. any office of the judicial department subject to statewide elections and the office of public regulation commissioner; and (2) paying administrative and enforcement costs of the Voter Action Act.
- It helps to level the playing field involving privately funded candidates by financially supporting, within limits, candidates running in covered-offices elections who meet certain requirements.
SB 668 – STATE ETHICS COMMISSION ACT, sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart
Passed both houses unanimously. Signed by the Governor.
Bill is a substitute for HB 4 and SB 619. It creates an independent, seven-member state ethics commission with a professional executive director and staff to investigate and adjudicate ethics complaints against public officials, government contractors, lobbyists, state employees, candidates and related individuals.
- Commission can enforce civil compliance of Campaign Reporting Act, Voter Action Act, Lobbyist Regulation Act, Governmental Conduct Act and other ethics laws.
- Commission can file court actions to force civil compliance.
- Commission can hold public hearings on ethics complaints.
- Commission can impose fines and recommend disciplinary action.
SB 191 – Lobbyist Reporting Requirements, sponsored by Sen. Ivey-Soto
Passed in both houses. Signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 191 amends the Lobbyist Regulation Act to change reporting requirements by lobbyists by requiring cumulative reporting of expenses incurred under $100 in addition to current requirements.
BILLS THAT DIED
HB 57- Restore Felon Voting Rights, sponsored by Rep. Chasey
Passed HSEIC and HJC; DIED ON HOUSE FLOOR
Original bill simply repealing cancellation of voter’s registration after felony conviction was defeated in committee. Substitute bill would allow a felon to register to vote upon release from prison, although he/she may not have completed parole or probation.
HJM 12 – Study All-Mail Elections, sponsored by Rep. Chandler
Passed HSEIC; DIED ON HOUSE FLOOR
calls on the Secretary of State to study the feasibility of conducting all mail elections in New Mexico and reporting to the appropriate interim legislative committee by December 1, 2019.
HJR 6 – Allow for Runoff Elections, sponsored by Rep. Pratt
Passed HSEIC, HJC, House Floor, SRC; DIED ON SENATE FLOOR
Proposes to amend the state constitution to allow runoff elections in every election other than municipal elections. The resolution is to be submitted for approval by the people of the state in the next general election (November 2020) or any special election called for that purpose.
SB 410 – School Counselor Voter Registration Agents, sponsored by Sen. Soules
Was never scheduled; DIED IN SRC
Would have required all high school counselors to be Voter Registration Agents.
HB 93 – Primary Election Participation by Decline To State Voters, sponsored by Rep. Ely
Passed HCPAC and HSEIC; DIED IN HJC
Would allow voters who “decline to state” a party (i.e. are not registered as Rep., Dem. or Libertarian) to vote in one of the parties’ primary elections.
SB 418 – Non-Affiliated Voters in Primary Elections, sponsored by Sen. Moores
Passed in SRC, heavily amended to remove major section which required parties to pay for their primary if they decided to limit the primary to their members; DIED IN SJC.
Would open primaries to DTS voters and voters affiliated with smaller parties. If major parties decide to limit their primaries to their own members, they must pay for and administer that primary election. NMMOP did not take a position on this bill.
HB 131 – Post-Session Lobbying Reports, Sponsored by Thompson, Steinborn
Passed unanimously on House Floor; TABLED BY SRC
Amends the Lobbyist Regulation Act to require lobbyists or lobbyists’ employers to file an expenditure report with the NM Secretary of State within one week following the conclusion of a legislative session listing the legislation for which the lobbyist or lobbyist’s employer lobbied, and whether they supported or opposed each piece of legislation.
HB 140 – Employer Estimated Lobbyist Reports, sponsored by Rep. Thompson
Bill was judged dead in water early on, by Common Cause. Never got a hearing; DIED IN HSEIC
Amends the Lobbyist Regulation Act to require lobbyists and lobbyists’ employers to file several expenditure reports with the NM Secretary of State during the course of every year as well as report political contributions and other related expenses.
HB 169 – Public Corruption Act, sponsored by Rep. McQueen
Passed the House 65-0. DIED IN SPAC
Bill states that a public official who is convicted of or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to a public corruption offense shall, in addition to the penalties for the underlying offense prescribed in the Criminal Sentencing Act, forfeit service credit accrued pursuant to the Public Employees Retirement Act during all periods of service as a public official.
SB 303 – Public Corruption Act, sponsored by Sen. Moores, Rep. McQueen
Passed in SPAC; DIED IN SJC.
Identical to HB 169.
HB 462 – Sec. of State & A.G. in Voter Action Act, sponsored by Rep. Pratt et al.
Passed HSEIC and HJC; DIED ON HOUSE FLOOR
Bill amends the Voter Action Act to include public campaign financing for office of the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. Currently, public financing is only available for any office of the judicial department subject to statewide elections and the office of public regulation commissioner.
HB 428 – S Sec. of State in Voter Action Act, sponsored by Rep. McQueen, Rep. Ruiloba
Passed HSEIC, DIED IN HAFC.
Similar to HB 428, only considering SOS.
SB 416 – The Redistricting Act , sponsored by Sen. Moores and Sen. Tallman
Passed SRC; DIED SJC
The bill requires the Legislative Council Service to acquire appropriate information and data and develop programs and procedures in preparation for drawing congressional, legislative, public regulation commission and public education commission redistricting plans on the basis of each federal census and other guidelines set out in the bill. Said plan shall be introduced into the legislature for consideration. The bill further provides for a temporary redistricting commission to perform certain functions including conducting public hearings on the plan in different regions of the state.
SB 449 – Public Disclosure of Income Tax Returns by Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates, sponsored by Sen. Candelaria
DIED IN SRC
Bill requires a candidate for the office of president or vice president of the United States to file with the NM secretary of state copies of the candidate’s federal income tax returns for the five most recent taxable years for which a return was filed with the IRS at least seventy days prior to a general election in order for a candidate’s name to appear on the general election ballot. Said returns would be made public on the secretary of state’s website.
HB 249, Native American Voting Task Force, sponsored by Lente
Unanimous support in HSEIC; tabled in HAFC (appropriations) with no discussion; DIED IN HAFC
Bill requires the Secretary of State to convene and support a Native American Voting Task Force.
HJR 4, Free and Fair Election Amendment Convention, sponsored by C. Trujillo
TABLED – DIED IN HCPAC
Calls on State to call for an Article V Convention, in order to create and enact amendment to the US Constitution regulating campaign finance. Was fiercely opposed by Common Cause, League of Women’s Voters, and other lobbying groups.