STATE AUDITOR’S OFFICE NEWS
State Auditor Colón has applauded the signing of Senate Bill 64 into law by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. The bipartisan bill, addresses confidentiality and strengthens transparency in the state settlement process, was sponsored by Senators Sander Rue and Joseph Cervantes and Representatives Linda M. Trujillo and Christina Chandler.
“This bipartisan legislation was introduced on the heels of a troubling investigation from the Office of the State Auditor that uncovered an egregious abuse of power. I am grateful to the Legislature for recognizing the risks associated with the settlement process and moving swiftly to fill the gaps that allowed for this abuse to occur,” said Colón. “I am grateful to the sponsors for not giving up on this two-year fight for transparency and I applaud Governor Lujan Grisham for signing Senate Bill 64, it truly strengthens transparency in the state settlements process and improves accountability at all levels of state government.”
Senate Bill 64 was reintroduced this legislative session and follows upsetting results of a special audit designated after the Office of the State Auditor received allegations concerning questionable expenditures and how the General Services Departments handled secret settlements payouts. The bipartisan legislation amends state statute regarding confidentiality of records related to claims for damages and other relief made against any governmental entity, public officer, or public employee. The bill specifically calls for removing the 180-day delay period for records becoming subject to public inspection and the removal for potential criminal fines for prematurely releasing confidential records, and provides more clarity to events triggering records becoming subject to public inspection.
New Mexicans concerned about potential instances of fraud, waste, and abuse should contact the Office of the State auditor. Reports may be made anonymously through our website at www.saonm.org or by calling 1-866-OSA-FRAUD. You may also speak to an investigator by calling 505-476-3800.