NM House GOP Leader calls on Governor to veto bill that limits transparency and open records

Santa Fe, NM– New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham has one week left to take final action on legislation from the 2020 Legislature. Out of the many out-of-touch bills that were passed, House Bill 364 has sparked intense interest in the last few days. HB 364 was hastily passed in its only committee assignment as a “dummy bill” and was debated and approved by the House in somewhere around 48-hours. The bill passed on a contentious party-line vote, with many Republican members questioning the break-neck speed of passage and taking considerable offense that Republican analysts and expert witnesses were given little to no notice of the bill’s presentation.

In the weeks that followed HB 364’s passage, it has become clear to many open government groups that the rushed through legislation raises serious questions about transparency. The crux of the issue is the interpretation of HB 364 and future clashes with the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA). It appears that contrary to IPRA’s current standards, HB 364 will eliminate New Mexicans access to public records.

 “The Governor must veto this legislation. After being drafted and passed under cover of night, the light has shone on HB 364 and revealed a dangerous mistake.” said House Republican Leader Jim Townsend, “Transparency and fairness are principles that we can deliver to New Mexicans, let’s start by fixing this erroneous mistake.”

Today, GOP Leader Townsend delivered a letter to the Governor outlining his request for HB 364 to be vetoed.