HOUSE BILL 169
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Reena Szczepanski and Christine Chandler and Joseph Cervantes and Mimi Stewart
RELATING TO THE LEGISLATURE; REMOVING THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE COMPLAINANT NOT PUBLICLY DISCLOSE ANY INFORMATION RELATING TO THE FILING OR INVESTIGATION OF A COMPLAINT MADE TO THE INTERIM LEGISLATIVE ETHICS COMMITTEE ALLEGING MISCONDUCT OF A LEGISLATOR.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 2-15-9 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1993, Chapter 46, Section 54) is amended to read:
"2-15-9. INTERIM LEGISLATIVE ETHICS COMMITTEE--PROCEDURES--CONFIDENTIALITY.--
A. Except as provided in this section, the New Mexico legislative council shall develop procedures to carry out the provisions of this section, in accordance with the existing procedures in the house and senate rules.
B. A member of the interim legislative ethics committee [shall be] is ineligible to participate in any matter relating directly to that member's conduct. In any such case, a substitute member to the committee shall be appointed from the same house from the same political party by the appropriate appointing authority. A member may seek to be disqualified from any matter brought before the interim legislative ethics committee on the grounds that the member cannot render a fair and impartial decision. Disqualification must be approved by a majority vote of the remaining members of the committee. In any such case, a substitute member to the committee shall be appointed from the same political party as provided in this section.
C. The interim legislative ethics committee is authorized to issue advisory opinions on matters relating to ethical conduct during the interim. Any question relating to the interpretation and enforcement of ethical principles as applied to the legislature may be submitted in writing to the New Mexico legislative council by a legislator describing a real or hypothetical situation and requesting an advisory opinion establishing an appropriate standard of ethical conduct for that situation. The question shall be referred to the [joint] interim legislative ethics committee.
D. To initiate any action during the interim on alleged misconduct, any legislator or member of the public may file a written, sworn complaint setting forth, with specificity, the facts alleged to constitute unethical conduct. A complaint shall be filed with the New Mexico legislative council. Upon receipt of the complaint, the [co-chairmen] co-chairs shall convene the interim legislative ethics committee.
E. The interim legislative ethics committee shall maintain rules of confidentiality unless the legislator against whom a complaint is filed waives the rules or any part of them in writing. The confidentiality rules shall include the following provisions:
(1) [the complainant] the committee and its staff shall not publicly disclose any information relating to the filing or investigation of a complaint, including the identity of the complainant or respondent, until after a finding of probable cause has been made that a violation has occurred;
(2) the identity of the complainant shall be released to the respondent immediately upon request; and
(3) no member of the committee or its staff may knowingly disclose any confidential information except as authorized by the committee."
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