New Mexico attorney general decides against appealing records-law ruling

Attorney General Hector Balderas seemed poised to appeal after a state court ruled against his office last month in a lawsuit over New Mexico’s open-records law. But amid mounting concerns from advocates of government transparency that he could undermine what they viewed as a big win for the public’s right to know, Balderas ruled out…

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Albuquerque Journal Editorial: All should heed AG’s opinion on records costs

The state Attorney General’s Office took University of New Mexico officials to task last week, citing several instances where the university violated the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act and Open Meetings Act. The 32-page “transparency report,” which the AG’s office issued Sept. 6, looked at the most recent 11 complaints dating back to…

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New Mexico bills flounder on both transparency, secrecy

Residents of New Mexico may be none the wiser when it comes to information about independent political expenditures and everyday spending by lobbyists after key transparency measures were vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez. At the same time, a long list of anti-transparency initiatives designed to restrict access to government information floundered during this year’s 60-day legislative session.

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NM: Doña Ana County loses $90K open records lawsuit

A state judge has ordered Doña Ana County government to pay more than $90,000 to an Alamogordo-based pet advocacy group for failing to hand over public records in a timely way.

Alamogordo nonprofit Animal Village NM sued the county in late 2015, alleging officials had not provided public records in response to a request made under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, one of the state's key government-transparency laws. The lawsuit sought compliance with the state law.

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NM State Sen. wants parents to have access to investigations into school police

Laura Gutierrez has been trying to get public records from Albuquerque Public Schools for more than a year. In 2014 a school law enforcement officer allegedly used force against her autistic son.

APS opened an investigation and soon cleared the officer of any wrongdoing. Gutierrez wants to see all the documents from this investigation.

In the fall and winter of 2015, Gutierrez filed four public records requests with APS for the district’s internal investigation of the officer, an employee of the school district.

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New Mexico reveals names of marijuana producers; lawsuit dismissed

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (NMFOG) and freelance journalist Peter St. Cyr have dismissed their lawsuit against the New Mexico Department of Health after the DOH amended its regulations that kept secret the names of licensed medical marijuana producers.

The lawsuit was filed last July in the state district court in Albuquerque, but NMFOG and St. Cyr stayed further action within weeks of the filing after DOH agreed to begin administrative procedures to remove the confidentiality provisions.

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Op-ed: Here’s how New Mexico can create a more open, ethical legislature

In 1910, Congress passed the Enabling Act that would allow New Mexico to become a state. The act set forth the terms and conditions that would finally, after nearly 60 years of trying, allow New Mexico to join the Union.

Chief among those requirements was that a constitution be in place. So in October of that year, 100 men gathered in Santa Fe to write one. It was overwhelmingly a conservative group, 71 Republicans from the conservative wing of the party, 28 Democrats and 1 Socialist.

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Open records: New Mexico lawmakers rarely use work email

New Mexico legislative leaders rarely, if ever, communicate by work email and keep private the details of breakfast and dinner appointments with industry and special interest groups, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

The Legislature’s four top leaders provided their appointment calendars and hundreds of emails from the first week in February in response to the records request. Nearly all of the emails came from constituents; only three were outgoing messages.

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New Mexico law meant to increase transparency leaves gray area for lobbyists

Lobbyists could end up reporting far less of their spending on lawmakers under a bill lauded for improving the state’s campaign finance system.

House Bill 105, signed into law by Gov. Susana Martinez on Monday, aims to make it easier for the public to access information about campaign contributions and lobbyists’ reporting. But the bill also ends a requirement that lobbyists report cumulative spending on lawmakers, and it increases the limit for reporting to $100 from $75 per event. The original legislation struck the cumulative total requirement.

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