I t gives new meaning to ineffectual governance. Last session, the New Mexico Legislature knew a major provision in the state's public financing campaign law had been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
And it did nothing.
The Supreme Court said in 2011 that privately funded candidates might be reluctant to spend money on political speech if they know it's going to be matched by publicly financed speech. It struck down Arizona's matching-funds provision as an unconstitutional infringement on political speech under the First Amendment.
New Mexico could have repealed its matching funds. It didn't. And though Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, introduced language to bring New Mexico into compliance SB 12 never even got a committee hearing.
Because hey, why have a robust discussion to determine the right action when all that's involved is the U.S. Constitution. Oh, and taxpayer money.
In the wake of that inaction, taxpayers have had to fork over almost $100,000 to lawyers contesting New Mexico's matching provision, and a federal judge has struck down the state's version of the law.
When lawmakers reconvene Jan. 15, they should quickly get New Mexico public campaign financing into federal compliance.
Because saving taxpayers' money by complying with the Constitution shouldn't be up for political debate.
— Albuquerque Journal