February 10, 2016

Three things to look for: Rape kit backlog fix

We’re moving towards the end of the legislative session and more and more things are happening—and no one can watch them all. Here are three things that you should keep your eye on for Wednesday.

There are now just eight days left in the legislative session.

1. Capital Outlay Reform

One of the big buzz pieces of legislation, thanks in large part to reporting by New Mexico In Depth and media outreach efforts and lobbying by Think New Mexico, is reforming the state’s capital outlay process. Many have looked at it as a white whale for the executive and others—it would require legislators to largely give up pork—but there seems to be momentum behind the effort. This year’s version is up in House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee this morning.

2. Lobbying Expenditure Reporting

Another possible white whale, this is an effort that has become a perennial issue for Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces. He wants to require more information from lobbyists, which good government groups say would result in more trust in government. Steinborn will bring the bill in front of the keen legal minds of the House Judiciary Committee this afternoon.

3. Rape kit backlog money

Outrage over thousands of untested rape kits resulted in the Legislature agreeing to put money towards testing those kits around the state. Though it is a year with not much new money to spread around, this is one priority that both parties in both chambers agree on. The Senate Finance Committee will hear the fiscal case for the bill.

What we wrote yesterday

As the session nears an end—just eight days left—we are writing more and more. Here’s our stories from Tuesday.