New Mexico First prepared information in response to research it has done on the establishment of a state ethics commission. The findings may inform future
legislative or regulatory reforms.
In 2016, New Mexico First conducted a series of focus groups about the pros and cons of establishing a state ethics commission. Meetings were held with
current and former public officials, as well as members of the media. While our research revealed a wide range of perspectives on the structure and
timing of an ethics commission, most participants believed that New Mexico needs one. They offered a variety of reasons including public trust, fragmented
existing systems, preventing honest mistakes, limitations of existing legal structures, and policymakers being asked to police themselves.
In 2018, New Mexico voters passed a constitutional ballot initiative that called for establishing a state ethics commission. Legislators, voters’ rights advocates, good government organizations, business and community leaders have since come together to discuss and identify some of the principles and key elements that would build a solid foundation for an effective ethics commission.
Below are key principles for an effective state ethics commission that may serve as a guide when determining specific elements of legislative and regulatory proposals. These principles are based on research of best practices throughout the state and country, input from government officials current and former, business and community leaders, media and the public.
ACI – Association of Commerce and Industry
League of Women Voters
New Mexico First
NM Common Cause
NM Ethics Watch
In 2017, the New Mexico First focus groups informed multiple policy discussions about ethics reform. This issue had been advanced for over a decade by multiple organizations including Common Cause of New Mexico. The legislature passed described a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to establish a New Mexico Ethics Commission:
HJR 8: State ethics commission: this joint resolution calls for an amendment to article 5 of the constitution of New Mexico to create an independent state ethics commission with jurisdiction to investigate and issue advisory opinions and exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate civil violations of laws governing standards of conduct. Authority would include campaigns of elected and appointed members of the legislature and executive branch, as well as legislative and executive branch state officers and employees, government contractors and lobbyists. Passed, constitutional amendment, goes to voters in 2018