The sun shines bright, except in the Legislature
As we celebrate Sunshine Week, a week that highlights the public’s right to know what its government is doing and why, we, here in New Mexico, are at a bit of a crossroads.
It seems that state legislators have a different opinion about what the public has a right to see and know. On Sunday night, the state House passed House Concurrent Resolution 1, which sets up a process for disclosure of legislative emails.
Its sponsors said the resolution could be used to keep secret records that are considered public under the Inspection of Public Records Act.
Speaker W. Ken Martinez and Minority Leader Don Bratton suggest that the New Mexico Constitution gives legislators special exemption from open records law, but the Constitution affords them no unique secrecy.
Along with the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, we vehemently oppose this resolution. State law says any records that deal with public business and are held by or for government should be open to the people. This applies to every public official in New Mexico, including city councilors, county commissioners and yes, state legislators.
Legislators are not above the law. They need to be reminded they work for us and should be conducting the public’s business in public.