Martinez Allows Legislature to Consider Her Pet Issues, But Ethics Not on Agenda
Despite more than a half dozen bills on ethics and campaign reform having been filed already in this legislative session, the 26 executive messages that Gov. Susana Martinez issued on Wednesday involved only the governor’s pet issues and did nothing to indicate consideration of bills that would directly address the egregious ethical lapses in her administration, said Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Debra Haaland.
“It is clear that ethics in state government is not a priority for Gov. Susana Martinez,” Haaland said. “Instead of getting down to the business of fixing state government and restoring New Mexicans’ trust in their leaders, the governor is playing politics again.”
The more than two-dozen messages issued on Wednesday included teen curfews, mandatory flunking for third-graders and revoking immigrant driver’s licenses. The governor has not been willing to talk about ethics and campaign reform since news broke that she is under federal grand jury investigation and since her secretary of state was convicted on corruption charges, but Martinez had alluded in her state of the state address that she would allow some campaign finance issues to be considered.
“Why is the governor afraid of having an open debate about the kinds of ethics reforms that we need in New Mexico?” Chairwoman Haaland said. “Whether it’s creating an effective ethics commission or allowing for the governor’s discretionary fund—which she used for her now infamous pizza party—to be audited, there are good bills ready to be considered that will start to change the culture of corruption that has flourished under the Martinez Administration.”
The primary focus of this year’s 30-day legislative session is to pass a budget for the state. Only the governor has the power to allow non-budget bills to be considered. That means it is up to the governor to keep her word and support ethics reforms. Given the short duration of the session, the longer it takes for a bill to be considered, the less likely that bill is to pass. There are 28 days left in this year’s session.
“The people of New Mexico cannot wait any longer,” Haaland said. “The time is now for Gov. Martinez to break her own silence and allow the Legislature to debate ethics reform legislation. What is the governor waiting for?”