SENATE BILL 41
52nd legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2016
RELATING TO STATE GOVERNMENT; ENACTING THE INSPECTOR GENERAL ACT; CREATING THE INDEPENDENT OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL; CREATING AN INSPECTOR GENERAL OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE; PROVIDING POWERS AND DUTIES; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. [NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--This act may be cited as the "Inspector General Act".
SECTION 2. [NEW MATERIAL] PURPOSE.--The purpose of the Inspector General Act is to:
A. establish an independent office of inspector general to conduct investigations and inspections of state agencies in accordance with professional standards; and
B. provide increased accountability and oversight of state agencies to deter and identify fraud, waste, abuse, illegal acts and corruption.
SECTION 3. [NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Inspector General Act:
A. "agency" means a branch, department, institution, board, bureau, commission or committee of the state; and
B. "office" means the office of inspector general.
SECTION 4. [NEW MATERIAL] OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL--POSITION OF INSPECTOR GENERAL.--
A. The "office of inspector general" is created in the legislative branch of government.
B. The head of the office is the "inspector general".
SECTION 5. [NEW MATERIAL] INSPECTOR GENERAL OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE--DUTIES--POWERS--STAFF.--
A. The "inspector general oversight committee" is created as a permanent interim legislative committee. The committee consists of eight members of the legislature. The speaker of the house of representatives shall appoint four members from the house of representatives, no more than two of whom are from the same political party. The senate committees' committee shall appoint four members from the senate, no more than two of whom are from the same political party; provided that, if the appointments are made in the interim, the president pro tempore of the senate shall make those appointments after consultation with and the agreement of a majority of the senate committees' committee. The members of the oversight committee shall serve from the time of their appointment until the first day of the regular session in odd-numbered years.
B. The inspector general oversight committee:
(a) before January 1, 2017, appoint an inspector general: 1) without regard to political affiliation; 2) on the basis of integrity, capability of strong leadership and demonstrated ability in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration, investigation, criminal justice or another relevant field; 3) who, in the six years before appointment, did not serve as the secretary or as the division director of an executive branch department; and 4) is, or within six months of appointment will become, certified by a national organization as an inspector general;
(b) establish the inspector general's annual compensation;
(c) hear reports from the office;
(d) develop and approve the office's budgets; and
(e) establish the office's policies and procedures; and
(2) may remove the inspector general, who, if removed, shall be given six months' notice of termination or six months' salary as terminal pay.
C. The legislative council service shall staff the inspector general oversight committee.
SECTION 6. [NEW MATERIAL] INSPECTOR GENERAL--DUTIES--POWERS.--
A. The inspector general shall:
(1) receive and investigate complaints from any source concerning alleged fraud, waste, abuse, illegal acts and corruption in an agency;
(2) report and provide evidence of potential criminal matters to the attorney general or another law enforcement official and report financial fraud, waste and abuse to the state auditor. The inspector general shall otherwise refer matters for further criminal, civil and administrative action to the appropriate prosecutorial or administrative agencies;
(3) report the office's findings to the head of an agency that it investigates or inspects and to appropriate elected and appointed officials and make those findings publicly available;
(4) if the inspector general becomes aware of a particularly serious problem, abuse or deficiency related to an agency's programs or operations or becomes aware of an agency's interference with the office's operations, immediately report that information to the agency head and the inspector general oversight committee;
(5) maintain information on the cost of investigations and cooperate with appropriate prosecutorial and administrative agencies in recouping those costs from nongovernmental persons involved in willful misconduct; and
(6) except as otherwise provided by law, have unrestricted access to an agency's records, data, reports, contracts, memoranda, correspondence and any other information necessary to carry out the duties of the office.
B. The inspector general may, as necessary to efficiently and effectively carry out the duties of the office:
(1) investigate and inspect an agency's activities, processes and records in accordance with the professional standards for inspectors general established by a national organization selected by the inspector general and the inspector general oversight committee;
(2) investigate and inspect a person with which an agency has entered a contract, from which an agency has procured goods or services or to which an agency has made a grant;
(3) conduct investigations of an agency employee's employment-related conduct;
(4) conduct an audit of an agency's employees' activities and processes to ensure efficient and effective operations;
(5) engage in relevant prevention activities, including conducting agency training;
(6) collaborate with other oversight or law enforcement agencies on investigations and projects;
(7) recommend to an agency measures for overcoming or correcting office-identified operational or maintenance deficiencies or inefficiencies;
(8) monitor an agency's implementation of those recommendations;
(9) engage in other activities to review an agency's employees' actions that contribute to the agency's inefficiency or ineffectiveness;
(10) subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and affirmations, take testimony and compel the production of books, papers, records and documents, including electronic data, relevant to an investigation or inquiry undertaken by the office. The subpoena power may be enforced through a district court, and process shall be served without cost to the committee by a sheriff or member of the New Mexico state police;
(11) delegate the powers outlined in Paragraph (10) of this subsection to a duly authorized deputy inspector general;
(12) encourage agency employees to report to the office information about fraud, waste, abuse, illegal acts and corruption in government; and
(13) hire and contract for professional, technical and support staff.
SECTION 7. [NEW MATERIAL] COOPERATION WITH THE INSPECTOR GENERAL.--
A. The inspector general oversight committee, members of the legislature or any other state officials or employees shall not prevent, impair or prohibit the inspector general from initiating, pursuing or completing any investigation or review that the inspector general may lawfully undertake.
B. Every agency shall, to a reasonable extent and upon request, furnish to the office the documents, material or information requested by the office and not made confidential by law.
SECTION 8. [NEW MATERIAL] OFFICE REPORTS--PUBLIC RECORD--AGENCY RESPONSE.--
A. Beginning with fiscal year 2017, within sixty days after the end of each fiscal year, the inspector general shall issue an annual report that outlines the office's investigative, inspection, review and assistance efforts and that describes the office's accomplishments. The inspector general shall provide copies of the report to the governor and the legislature.
B. Before an investigative report's issuance, information collected during the office's investigative activities shall be kept confidential. The identity of any person who files a complaint that leads to an investigation by the office shall not be publicly disclosed unless the person consents in writing to the disclosure.
SECTION 9. [NEW MATERIAL] EXTERNAL REVIEW.--Every four years, the inspector general shall submit all investigative reports produced by the office for an objective, quality-assurance review by an appropriate professional, nonpartisan organization. A copy of the written report on the review shall be transmitted to the inspector general oversight committee. The report shall be made publicly available.
SECTION 10. APPROPRIATION.--Five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the legislative council service for expenditure in fiscal year 2017 to carry out the provisions of the Inspector General Act. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2017 shall revert to the general fund.
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