March 31, 2017

Martinez vetoes bill on access to public databases for ‘political’ purposes

Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed two bills and signed two more Friday afternoon. One bill Martinez vetoed dealt with the release of public databases through the state Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA).

Rep. Matthew McQueen introduced the bill after reading about problems one citizen had when requesting information from the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commision. That issue was reported by NM Political Report and co-published in the Santa Fe Reporter.

Currently, IPRA allows agencies to release databases but also authorizes agency officials to make the requester agree “not to use the database for any political or commercial purpose unless the purposes and use is approved in writing by the state agency that created the database.” McQueen’s bill would have struck “political” from the law.

The bill passed the House unanimously and the Senate by a vote of 24 to 12. Martinez also vetoed a bill that would have required the Public Education Department “to develop a framework for professional development for career-technical teachers and educational assistants similar to requirements for other teachers and requires PED to develop guidelines for integrating career-technical education content into academic instructional practices” according to the bill’s Fiscal Impact Report.

The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously.

Martinez said the bill was unnecessary because the statute the bill would have changed “already provides for professional development for all teachers, regardless of the content area they teach.”

Martinez did sign two non-controversial bills.

One, HB 218, abolished a 32-member litter control council while creating a seven-member “New Mexico clean and beautiful advisory committee.” That bill also stopped a requirement to distribute “Dusty Roadrunner” litter bags. That is expected to save the committee $30,000 annually.

The other, HB 257, made changes to the Hoisting Operators Safety Act, including renaming it the “Crane Operators Safety Act.” It also changed requirements for different tiers of crane operating licenses.