Mischief is no stranger to the waning days of the New Mexico Legislature. This year’s version? The vaguely worded House Concurrent Resolution 1, designed to exempt the state Legislature from provisions of the Inspection of Public Records Act.
That’s right, some in our Legislature think they deserve a cloak of secrecy — unlike other government officials, lawmakers’ emails could remain secret. Resolution co-sponsor Rep. Don Bratton, R-Hobbs, believes that his and other legislators’ email deserves confidentiality. “For me, email is no different than a telephone conversation I have with another person. They’re personal,” Bratton said last week in committee testimony. This, evidently, is a bi-partisan view. Democratic Rep. Eliseo Lee Alcon, D-Milan, believes that as a citizen legislator, “I think it’s up to me to decide if you can have my record.” House Speaker Ken Martinez also is sponsoring the resolution, which seemingly floated out of nowhere last week and passed the House on a 48-16 vote over the weekend. Despite what appears like a wide margin, that vote was actually close — the measure needed a two-thirds vote to pass, or 47 votes. The 16 legislators who voted “no” deserve citizen thanks — including Santa Fe-area Reps. Brian Egolf and Stephanie Garcia Richard.
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