Effective government (or “good governance”) refers to the way in which elected officials exercise their political authority to serve their constituencies. Good governance, with respect to the environment, requires that decisions are made and implemented using legitimate (legal), transparent, participatory, responsive and equitable processes to achieve effective policies that protect New Mexico’s communities and natural resources.
Effective government requires access to good, unbiased information on which to base policies and statutes, and adequate funding to implement them. Tax policy is a reasonably accurate representation of a government’s priorities: Who is paying their fair share? Which government “favorites” are getting huge tax credits, deductions and exemptions, and who is paying the price for them?
From an environmental perspective, the question is: How well does a government address the public costs of private activities — for example, the waste or emissions produced by certain industries? Costs of enforcement, cleanup and disposal — as well as losses suffered from health impacts and withdrawal of lands and waters from alternative economic uses — are mostly borne by the public because leasing fees, royalties, cleanup bonds, permit violation penalties, and other measures are almost always far below the true cost of regulating and remediating an industrial activity.
Ugly partisan struggles have occasionally dominated decisions about adequately funding the state budget and environmental rulemaking, leaving unfunded mandates for agencies and underfunded public services, and leaving many New Mexicans disillusioned about the political process and the possibility of meaningful improvement in their lives.
Moving forward, state leadership can center New Mexicans in the decision-making process by creating a culture of transparency, and addressing obstacles to full public participation in the policy process, such as language barriers, technology and access, and more.
Related Votes for Effective Government
- Air Quality
- Energy &
- Wildlife & Habitat
Voters' Rights Provisions more
Summary: SB 8 (1) Enacts digital voter registration; (2) aligns tribal polling place changes to Native American Voting Rights Act; (3) allows sixteen-year-olds to vote in local and municipal elections; (4) expands voter registration ability at DMV; (5) allows tribal government buildings to be used as tribal land residents’ voter registration mailing address; (6) allows driver’s license or state ID number to be used in addition to SSN for digital voter registration; (7)allows public sharing of eligible but unregistered voters by SOS upon request; (8-9) expands Election Day voter registration; (10) further outlines digital voter registration process; (11-12) grants voting rights to residents with past felony convictions; (13-15) repeals, replaces, and creates new programs relating to voter registration at DMV, on tribal land, at state agencies; (16-19) expands absentee voting; (20-21) makes minor changes to language on election funding and presidential electors; (22-31) enacts new Native American Voting Rights Act; (32) ensures minimum of $20M be maintained for state funding of elections; (33) makes Election Day a state holiday; (34) makes Election Day a school holiday; (35) allows residents with previous felony convictions to hold elected office; (36) repeals Sections 1-3-7.2, 1-4-5.8 and 1-6-5.8 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2021, Chapter 107, Section 1, Laws 2019, Chapter 67, Section 2 and Laws 2009, Chapter 251, Section 2, as amended); (37) sets effective date of July 1, 2022.
Outcome: SB 8 passed the Senate committees, but died on the Senate calendar.
Katy M. Duhigg
Intimidation of Election Workers more
Summary: As amended, SB 144 would have made significant steps towards modernizing and securing New Mexico's electoral process.
Outcome: SB 144 passed the Senate 38-0, and the House 39-30, but failed on concurrence.
Katy M. Duhigg
Salaries for Public Officials, CA more
Summary: SJR 8 would make a Constitutional amendment to task the Senate Ethics Committee with developing salaries for all state elected officials.
Outcome: SJR 8 died waiting to be scheduled in Senate Judiciary Committee.
Katy M. Duhigg
Roberto J. Gonzales
Daniel A. Ivey-Soto
Brenda G. McKenna
Know the Score > Take Action
Strategies for Effective Government
Actions that foster effective government:
It’s difficult to achieve good government without transparency. Fortunately, after a few fits and starts, the legislature passed a measure sponsored by former Sen. Sander Rue which created the “Sunshine Portal.” The portal provides public access to important information about New Mexico state government, including spending, budgets, revenues, employees, contracts and more. You can access the Sunshine Portal from this link.
Actions that fail to foster effective government:
No thank you!
Many city and county governments, large and small, across the state, still act outside the requirements – in letter or spirit – of the state’s Open Meetings Act, even though local actions are often what most impact people’s daily lives. It is still too often the case that meetings are not properly noticed, and agendas and meeting minutes provide almost no information about what is discussed. Boards and commissions are often packed with people whose interests are frequently decided by those public bodies, and deals are made among board and commission members or between local officials and interested parties behind closed doors. It is an intractable and serious problem.
Communicate with the Governor and your Legislators
Whether you’re congratulating them on their score or expressing your disappointment, be direct, courteous and polite.
The most important part is letting them know that you are paying close attention to how they vote or, in the case of the Governor, what actions she takes on legislation that affects our air, land, and water.
Calling your legislator directly and sending letters through regular mail remain by far the most effective ways to communicate with your legislators.
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor can always be contacted at the State Capitol. Except during the legislative session, state legislators should be contacted in their home districts, as listed on the current Legislators page.