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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, New Mexico House » Lobbying cooldown passes through committee unanimously

Lobbying cooldown passes through committee unanimously

A bill that would bar cabinet secretaries or legislators from working as lobbyists for two years passed the House Judiciary Committee on a unanimous vote.

There was very little debate on the legislation which was sponsored by Rep. Emily Kane, D-Albuquerque.

Kane said it was an issue of public trust and making sure that the public could trust legislators.

“The ethical question comes up, ‘What were you doing this whole time when you were supposed to be representing all of us?’” Kane said.

“Constituents are concerned,” she said. “They want to know our motives are not about our next position.”

A poll by Common Cause New Mexico showed a large majority of New Mexicans are worried about ethics issues.

The bill had previously passed the House Business and Industry Committee on a party-line vote with Republicans voting against and Democrats voting in favor.

Assistant Attorney General Phil Baca said it mirrored something that is in place in Congress and mentioned former Congressman Bill Tauzin from Louisiana. Tauzin went to work in the pharmaceutical industry just months after he helped a major pharmaceutical bill pass the Senate.

Baca also mentioned that the state Governmental Conduct Act already has a one-year moratorium on lobbying agency for which they worked.

Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, introduced an amendment that would have barred former legislators and cabinet secretaries from working for any business that employed lobbyists. When it was mentioned how broad this would be it was removed.

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Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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