NM FOG names open government award winners

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government announced the winners of its annual awards dedicated to open government. The group announced three recipients of the Dixon First Amendment Award, one lawyer, one journalist and one in government.

Charles “Kip” Purcell will be given the award for lawyers, Colleen Heild of the Albuquerque Journal will be given the award for journalists and State Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, for members of government.

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KERRY ADAMS: City committees, in effect, limit government

A friend of mine asked me a few weeks ago about my libertarian opinion on these committees that were recently passed by the Rio Rancho Governing Body. It was said that the committees were created in the name of open government between the city and the public, and they offer protection from rolling quorums. It was also said that these committees add a layer of bureaucracy while offering only the illusion of protection.

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Open government group questions Martinez policy

NFOIC member the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is asking Gov. Susana Martinez about the administration’s policy for handling information requests from the Legislature’s watchdog committees.

The questions were raised in response to a story by The Associated Press that Martinez agencies have told the Legislative Finance Committee and the Legislative Education Study Committee to send their information requests to the governor’s chief of staff for approval before an agency will respond.

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New Mexico legislator seeks rules change on webcasts

Rep, Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, said he will introduce legislation to expand webcasting of legislative committee hearings in an effort to improve the transparency of the Legislature. One rule change would require that all webcasts of committee meetings during the legislative session be archived. Session webcasts can now only be watched live.

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Santa Fe judge rules that audit of New Mexico mental health providers can remain confidential

From The Republic: SANTA FE, New Mexico — A judge has ruled that government agencies don't have to disclose an audit of more than a dozen mental health providers under investigation for possible overbillings and fraud, because the audit contains law enforcement materials that are confidential.

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AP files open records lawsuits against NM governor

From Las Cruces Sun-News: SANTA FE – The Associated Press filed lawsuits Thursday against Gov. Susana Martinez and administration agencies for refusing to release records about her work and travel schedules, cell phone calls and expenses of the security officers who travel with the governor.

The lawsuits alleging violations of the Inspection of Public Records Act are the latest by media and watchdog groups against Martinez, who has promoted herself as a strong advocate of a transparent government.

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New Mexico judge to review behavioral Health Audit

Press release from The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government: Albuquerque – In response to a lawsuit filed by The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (NMFOG), District Court Judge Sarah Singleton has decided she will review the behavioral health audit for items to be disclosed or kept confidential.

During the proceeding, the Attorney General’s made note that they believe the audit should be kept confidential, even after the investigation has been completed, which we found quite disturbing. NMFOG is hopeful in the release of the redacted audit.

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NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for November 22, 2013

From NFOIC:  A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week. While you're at it, be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.

Minnesota high court: Business not subject to open-records laws

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Taos County officials say lunches only meals, not deals

From Santa Fe New Mexican: TAOS — A quorum of the Taos County Commission meets regularly to have lunch, but commissioners insist that they discuss no county business.

County officials say the lunches are within the state’s sunshine laws, but an attorney with the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government told The Taos News he questions whether this is an ethical practice, and says it is teetering on the edge of illegal.

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NMFOG: New Mexico Attorney General and Human Services Department release heavily redacted behavioral health audit

Press release from The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government:  Albuquerque – In response to a lawsuit filed by The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (NMFOG), the Attorney General of New Mexico and the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) today (Oct. 18, 2013) released some new portions of the Behavioral Health Audit report, which HSD relied upon in halting Medicaid payments to health care providers in New Mexico until new management was put in place.

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