HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 18
52nd legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2016
A JOINT RESOLUTION
PROPOSING TO AMEND ARTICLE 11 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF NEW MEXICO BY REPEALING SECTION 1 AND ADDING A NEW SECTION 1 TO PROVIDE FOR THE TRANSITION FROM AN ELECTED TO AN APPOINTED FIVE-MEMBER FULL-TIME PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION AND TO PROVIDE AN APPOINTMENT PROCESS.
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. It is proposed to amend Article 11 of the
constitution of New Mexico by repealing Section 1 and adding a
new Section 1 to read:
"A. The "public regulation commission" is created
as a full-time commission of five members appointed by the governor from a list of names provided by the public regulation commission nominating committee. Members shall be residents of New Mexico; provided that when nominating or making an appointment, the nominating committee and governor shall ensure, to the greatest extent practicable, that members represent the ethnic diversity of the state. Commission members shall be appointed to serve for staggered four-year terms. A four-year term for a commission position shall begin on January 1 of the year following the expiration of a prior term for that position; provided that the first five members appointed to a full four-year term on or after January 1, 2017 shall be appointed as the terms of members in office prior to January 1, 2017 or elected to office at the 2016 general election expire.
B. The nominating committee shall request applications for membership on the public regulation commission so that at the end of the transition period members shall be appointed by the governor as follows:
(1) one member from each congressional district; and
(2) two members from the state at large; provided, however, that the first three members to be appointed to terms that begin on or after January 1, 2019 shall be appointed from congressional districts one and two and one from the state at large and the next two members shall be appointed from congressional district three and one from the state at large; and provided further that if there are no applications or qualified applicants from a congressional district, the nominating committee shall request applications from the state at large and submit the names of qualified applicants to the governor for appointment for the ensuing term.
C. A commission member who serves two consecutive terms is ineligible to hold office as a member again until one full term has intervened. No more than three members shall be members of the same political party at the time of their appointment. A person appointed to fill a vacancy on the commission shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.
D. The legislature may provide by law for additional qualifications for members appointed to a full term on or after January 1, 2017. The legislature shall provide for continuing education requirements for commission members.
E. A commission member shall be removed only for malfeasance, misfeasance or neglect of duty after a hearing before the supreme court pursuant to court rules. The
supreme court's jurisdiction over the hearing is exclusive and its decision on the removal is final.
F. A commission member shall not accept anything of value from a person whose charges for services to the public are regulated by the commission.
G. The "public regulation commission nominating committee" is created and is composed of:
(1) one person knowledgeable about the work of the public regulation commission appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;
(2) one person knowledgeable about the work of the public regulation commission appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives;
(3) one person knowledgeable about the work of the public regulation commission appointed by the president pro tempore of the senate;
(4) one person knowledgeable about the work of the public regulation commission appointed by the minority leader of the senate; and
(5) three retired district or appellate judges who have experience hearing complex civil cases or cases involving utility rate-setting or other public regulation commission appeals, appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court.
H. The chief justice shall name one of the judges or justices to serve as chairperson of the nominating committee. The public regulation commission staff shall serve as staff for the nominating committee.
I. Appointed members of the nominating committee shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. If a vacancy occurs in an appointed position, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment of the appointing authority.
J. The nominating committee shall actively solicit, accept and evaluate applications from qualified persons for the position of member of the public regulation commission and may require an applicant to submit any information it deems relevant to the consideration of the application.
K. For an original appointment to or to fill a vacancy on the public regulation commission, the nominating committee shall meet within thirty days and within that period submit to the governor the names of persons qualified to hold office as a member of the public regulation commission and recommended for appointment by a majority of the committee. Immediately after receiving the nominating committee's nominations, the governor may make one request of the committee for submission of additional names, and the committee shall promptly submit such additional names if a majority of the committee finds that additional persons would be qualified and recommends those persons for appointment to the public regulation commission. The governor shall appoint a member or a successor to fill the remainder of a vacancy on the commission within thirty days after receiving final nominations from the nominating committee by appointing one of the persons nominated by the committee for appointment. If the governor fails to make the appointment within that period or from those nominations, the appointment shall be made from those nominations by the chief justice or the acting chief justice of the supreme court. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve the remainder of the term for which the person was appointed."
SECTION 2. The amendment proposed by this resolution
shall be submitted to the people for their approval or
rejection at the next general election or at any special
election prior to that date that may be called for that
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