HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
The House of Representatives on Tuesday night passed a resolution creating a bipartisan commission to establish and limit salaries of state officials. The measure would move New Mexico to a modern, salaried legislature, in line with the rest of the country.
Sponsored by Rep. Daymon Ely (D-Corrales) and Rep. Angelica Rubio (D-Las Cruces), House Joint Resolution 12 establishes a Public Officer Salary Commission, tasked with setting and regulating the salaries of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, state auditor, commissioner of public lands, justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the Court of Appeals, district court judges, legislators, Public Regulation Commission members, and other public officers, as provided by the legislature. If HJR 12 passes both chambers, the proposal will go to the voters for adoption.
The commission would be made up of seven members, with no more than four of the same political party, who cannot be current elected officials, employees of state government, current or former lobbyists within the past three years, or close family members of an aforementioned individual. Two members would be appointed by the Governor, two by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, one by the Senate President Pro Tem, one by the House Speaker, and one by the six previously-appointed commissioners.
“We are the only state in the country that still has an all-volunteer legislature. This severely limits who is able to serve as a lawmaker because most New Mexicans do not have the job flexibility or financial ability to take several months off work every year,” said Rep. Ely. “It’s time for New Mexico to move into the 21st century by creating a professional, paid legislature.”
“Moving to a modern, salaried legislature opens the possibility of serving in public office to countless New Mexicans across the state who simply can’t afford to right now,” said Rep. Rubio. “HJR 12 will lead to a more diverse legislature that’s truly representative of the communities, needs, and values of New Mexico today.”
Rep. Ely added: “By creating a bipartisan commission made up of non-public officials, we can ensure the creation and continuation of fair salaries for not only our legislators, but also the governor, lieutenant governor, judges, and others in public office.”
Any salaries established by the commission would apply to the first full pay period in July 2024, would be reevaluated every two years thereafter, and would be posted publicly on an annual basis.
After passing the House Floor with a 44-24 vote, HJR 12 will now move to the Senate.
Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.