Lobbyists will be a topic of discussion during this year’s legislative session but won’t be physically present to make their case when lawmakers once again consider measures requiring greater disclosure about their advocacy efforts. They include requiring lobbyists or their employers to list the bills they lobbied on and the position they took, as well as the reporting of all money spent to influence state policy, including all compensation paid to a lobbyist. A report issued by New Mexico Ethics Watch last year states lobbyists exert considerable influence at the Capitol. “Perennially powerful lobbyists still know how to expertly play the inside game, catering to legislators, using their access to legislators, and leveraging the timing of meetings and last-minute amendments to their advantage,” the report states. According to the report, a few legislators try to strengthen lobbying laws every year — “only to have their legislation stalled in committees, amended to be toothless, or amended to make disclosure and other requirements so onerous that legislators can’t possibly vote for the proposals.”
State Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, said he hopes a pair of bills he plans to reintroduce this year to make lobbying more transparent will get a friendlier reception from a new set of freshman lawmakers.