Bonds and constitutional amendments on election ballot

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As voters make their choice for a favored candidate, they should also remember that there are also three General Obligations Bonds and five proposed Constitutional amendments on the 2012 General Election ballot as well.

Bond A would issue GO Bonds for $10.335 million for the improvement, construction and equipping of senior citizen facilities across the state.

Locally, it would allot $68,000 to purchase and install meal equipment at the Belen Senior Center.

Bond B is $8.83 million for library acquisitions for academic, public school, tribal and public libraries.

Local public and academic libraries would receive the following estimated amounts from the passage of Bond B:

• Los Lunas Community Library and its branch library, the Museum of Heritage and Arts: $53,861;

• Los Lunas Schools libraries: $64,723;

• Belen Public Library: $45,573;

• Belen Consolidated Schools libraries: $40,325;

• Bosque Farms Public Library: $13,127;

• University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus library: $21,514.

The cost of Bond B per property owner would be 56 cents per $100,000 assessed property value.

Another $3 million will be disbursed to the cultural affairs department for non-tribal libraries statewide, and $700,000 for resource acquisitions and capital improvements to tribal libraries statewide.

The higher education department will receive $3 million for academic libraries statewide.

Bond question C asks for $120 million for capital expenditures for higher education and special schools statewide.

From that, $1 million would go to UNM-VC for infrastructure improvements such as roof replacement, heating, ventilation and air conditioning system upgrades, plumbing upgrades and construction of a loop road and parking. The passage of Bond C will not result in an increase to property taxes.

Constitutional Amendment 1 proposes to add two members to serve on the Judicial Standards Commission, increasing membership of the commission from 11 people to 13.

The amendment specifics that one of the new members must be a municipal judge, who will serve a four-year term, and be selected in a manner established by the Legislature.

The other new member must be a citizen, who is not a justice, judge or magistrate or any court or licensed to practice law in New Mexico.

The citizen member would be appointed by the governor and serve a five-year term.

Three of the amendments would impact the Public Regulation Commission.

Amendment 2 would require the Legislature to establish, in statute, increased qualifications and continuing education requirements for those running for and elected to the PRC.

The new requirements would apply to commissioners elected starting in 2014 and all appointees filling a vacancy after July 1, 2013.

The third amendment proposes to remove the duties to charter and regulate corporations from the commission and putting the charter of corporations under the perview of the Office of the Secretary of State to be carried out in a manner established by the Legislature.

The amendment is silent as to the regulation of corporations, although the Legislature retains the inherent power to regulate them.

Amendment 4 proposes to create an Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, removing that duty from the PRC, to regulate insurance companies and others engaged in risk assumption in the state.

The amendment would also establish an Insurance Nominating Committee to evaluate applicants and appoint the superintendent of insurance based on qualifications established by the Legislature.

Additionally, the Legislature would be allowed to establish the manner in which the office may regulate the state's insurance industries, and the Legislature would determine the manner of appointing, and the required qualifications for, the members of the Insurance Nominating Committee.

The final amendment would establish the Public Defender Department as an independent state agency, removing it from its current location, administratively attached to the Corrections Department.

The amendment would remove the authority of the governor to appoint the chief public defender, instead creating a Public Defender Commission empowered to appoint and provide administrative guidance to the chief and exercise oversight over the department.

The amendment proposes to allow the Legislature to establish the term and qualification requirements for both the chief and the members of the commission, and to establish the manner in which the members of the commission would be appointed.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.