Good News: New Mexico Legislature Upgrades Its Public Financing System

By Adam Smith, press release from Public Campaign

On Wednesday, the New Mexico State House followed the Senate, by a vote of 68-0, in passing legislation to update the state's public financing system for judicial and Public Regulation Commission elections. It now heads to Governor Suzanna Martinez's (R) desk for a final signature.

The legislation is in response to the Supreme Court's 2011 decision in Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett, in which the Court threw out so-called "trigger funds" that were an integral part of "Clean Elections" systems like those in New Mexico, Arizona, Maine, North Carolina and Connecticut.

"If Gov. Martinez signs S.16 into law, New Mexico will be a trailblazer in strengthening its public financing proposal after the Supreme Court struck down trigger provisions in Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett," said Bob Edgar with Common Cause, the leading organization on the ground tha The Common Cause-supported bill had broad, bipartisan support and will allow candidates who run in competitive campaigns to raise small dollar contributions from individuals and get a four to one match."

The Voter Action Act replaces the trigger funds with a constitutional small donor matching system. After candidates for the Public Regulation Commission and judicial races qualify for public financing and receive their initial grant, they would, under this new bill, be able to continue raising small donations that would be matched on a 4-1 basis, similar to what has been proposed in the Fair Elections Now Act in Congress.

This is an important update to the system, which ensures participating candidates can continue to run competitive campaigns against privately financed candidates or big outside spenders.

New Mexico is one of several states pushing such reforms across the country this year. A West Virginia State House committee has passed legislation to extend the state's judicial public financing program. the Hawaii State House passed a bill last week to bring public financing to state legislative races, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has been taking serious steps toward moving a Fair Elections system forward there.

While the Supreme Court remains hostile to common sense campaign finance regulations, states like New Mexico and others are showing there are steps that can be taken to raise the voices of everyday people in the political process. On Wednesday, the New Mexico State House followed the Senate, by a vote of 68-0, in passing legislation to update the state's public financing system for judicial and Public Regulation Commission elections. It now heads to Governor Suzanna Martinez's (R) desk for a final signature.

The legislation is in response to the Supreme Court's 2011 decision in Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett, in which the Court threw out so-called "trigger funds" that were an integral part of "Clean Elections" systems like those in New Mexico, Arizona, Maine, North Carolina and Connecticut.

"If Gov. Martinez signs S.16 into law, New Mexico will be a trailblazer in strengthening its public financing proposal after the Supreme Court struck down trigger provisions in Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett," said Bob Edgar with Common Cause, the leading organization on the ground tha The Common Cause-supported bill had broad, bipartisan support and will allow candidates who run in competitive campaigns to raise small dollar contributions from individuals and get a four to one match."

The Voter Action Act replaces the trigger funds with a constitutional small donor matching system. After candidates for the Public Regulation Commission and judicial races qualify for public financing and receive their initial grant, they would, under this new bill, be able to continue raising small donations that would be matched on a 4-1 basis, similar to what has been proposed in the Fair Elections Now Act in Congress.

This is an important update to the system, which ensures participating candidates can continue to run competitive campaigns against privately financed candidates or big outside spenders.
New Mexico is one of several states pushing such reforms across the country this year. A West Virginia State House committee has passed legislation to extend the state's judicial public financing program. the Hawaii State House passed a bill last week to bring public financing to state legislative races, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has been taking serious steps toward moving a Fair Elections system forward there.

While the Supreme Court remains hostile to common sense campaign finance regulations, states like New Mexico and others are showing there are steps that can be taken to raise the voices of everyday people in the political process.


See the article on Public Campaign website



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