Governor signs bill to open conference committee meetings

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Bill Richardson has signed a bill that
would make public legislative conference committee meetings where
lawmakers reconcile differences between bills passed in the House and
Senate.

Richardson says he thinks the public wins by opening up the process the separate chambers use to reach agreement on bills.

The governor says the decision should have been made by the Legislature, not the executive branch.

The Legislature has wrangled for years over the issue of opening up conference committees.

The final decisions on important legislation like the annual state budget, are often made in conference committees.

Until now, the public, press and even other lawmakers have been excluded from the closed-door sessions.