NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A state senator is pushing to get New Mexico’s Sports Authority Division up and running again. The agency was created 15 years ago to spur on the economy and tourism by bringing sporting events and pro teams to the state.
Senator Moe Maestas said the Sports Authority Division was defunded by the previous administration and is currently underfunded. He wants to kickstart it and tweak its mission.
“Number one is currently under state law there’s a 25-member public board. This shaves it to a 10-member public board chaired by the Lt. Governor’s office, and then it also eliminates required rulemaking and specifies in statute what current law is in terms of the duties of identifying existing infrastructure for sports activities,” Senator Moe Maestas (D-Albuquerque), sponsor of this bill.
The duty of the Sports Authority is to recruit amateur and professional sporting events to the state. However, this bill also requires the division to inventory all high school and college sports venues and all public and private sports venues—including things like little league fields, soccer fields, and ice rinks. From there, the authority would make recommendations to the legislature about how to improve these things.
Senator Maestas tried a similar bill last year, but it was vetoed because it would have stripped the governor’s power to appoint the board members.
“The main change was that the secretary of tourism hired the director and so this one has the governor hiring the director and obviously the governor would appoint the body,” Maestas said.
A legislative analysis of the bill pointed out some concerns with this proposed version of the Sports Authority, saying focusing on high school sports and facilities may not align with their mission of promoting tourism.
This bill passed the Senate Rules Committee late last month, and it’s being heard Friday in the Senate Health Committee.