Your 2010 legislators: map, info, contact, resources
Updated: Friday, 05 Mar 2010, 5:22 PM MST
Published : Friday, 05 Mar 2010, 5:22 PM MST
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A new law will allow New Mexicans to go to a governmental Web site to track the salaries of political appointees in state jobs.
Lt. Gov. Diane Denish signed legislation into law on Friday requiring the Department of Information Technology to establish the Web site by July 2011.
Known as the "sunshine portal," the Web site is to provide a wide range of information about state government, including operating budgets of agencies, a directory of government jobs, revenue collections from fees and taxes and a summary of state investment accounts.
Names of government workers, along with their salaries, will be provided for those in appointive jobs. Salaries and job titles - but no names - will be available for workers in classified positions with civil service protections.
"People like to say that making laws is like making sausage. I've always felt that's kind of an excuse to say you don't really want to know what happens," Denish said at a news conference. "I believe that the citizens of New Mexico do want to know what happens and they want to know how their money is spent."
Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, who sponsored the legislation, said the planned Web site will make it easier to find governmental information by providing people with a central link rather than forcing them to search agency by agency.
The measure was approved by lawmakers during the 30-day session that ended last month.
Denish served as acting governor while Gov. Bill Richardson was in Arizona meeting with a Navajo Nation leader. Also signed into law by Denish was a bill to improve the handling of missing persons cases by law enforcement. For example, police and sheriff's officers must start an investigation within two hours after receiving a missing persons report and enter the information into state and national databases within the same time.
The new law also requires at least four hours of enforcement training in procedures for missing persons reports and the Amber Alert system, which provides for the emergency distribution of notices of child abduction.
State Police Chief Faron Segotta said all law enforcement officers are trained how to investigate crimes but the planned training in missing persons cases will "hone our skills and just make that information more consistent."
The sunshine portal bill is SB195. The missing persons bill is SB55.