Board President Shares Statement On HB10 In Legislative Committee Meeting

Rio Grande SPJ chapter president Laura Paskus delivered this statement today at a committee hearing for HB10. The board opposes this legislation because it believes the bill would decrease transparency in state government. The House, State Government, Indian and Veteran’s Affairs committee voted 6 to 3 to pass the bill out of committee. It now heads to House Judiciary Committee. 

The Rio Grande Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists always appreciates when legislators take an interest in issues related to transparency and public accountability. However, we do not support the current bill.

Board Opposes Bill That Aims To Create New IPRA Exemptions

January 16, 2017

The only thing transparent about a southern New Mexico lawmaker’s attempt to obscure public records from the public is the adverse effect it would have on citizens. And so it goes with SB93, the brainchild of Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces. This ill-conceived piece of legislation, pre-filed in advance of the 60-day legislative session, would exempt the applications of prospective government employees from public scrutiny — in some cases, the applications would apparently be secret forever. Papen’s bill would add yet another exception to disclosure under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA), the state’s sunshine and transparency law that allows the public to see how government works and how its money is being spent. The proposed bill provides that the names and resume of any “finalist for the head of any agency, state institution or political subdivision of the state shall be made available prominently on the entity’s website no fewer than seven days prior to the final decision to hire the individual.”
That’s cold comfort, at best, for fans of transparent government.

New Mexico Sleuth: Invigorating Investigative Reporting in New Mexico

Join the SPJ Rio Grande Chapter for trainings on FollowTheMoney’s pilot ‘Anomaly Detection’ tool in February. The tool uses statistical and artificial intelligence algorithms to identify potential reporting leads based on campaign finance data that is outside historical norms. The training will also show reporters how to use FTM’s “My Legislature’ tool with NM’s 2017 legislative committees and bill feeds that allow reporters to track specific legislation to see how donors overlap with legislation and lawmakers. COST: FREE! How To Register: http://www.followthemoney.org/resources/new-mexico-sleuth/

Travel stipend may be available. Email Denise for more information: deniser@followthemoney.org

FollowTheMoney Trainers: JT Stepleton (researcher) and Scott Wahl (data scientist)

TRAININGS

1) Wednesday, Feb.