SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Monday, February 20, legislators are debating many important issues in the Roundhouse. But mixed in with all the other bills on the schedule are a few interesting pieces of legislation: a bill to fund cybersecurity in the state and a bill to set clear expectations for the behavior of politicians.
House Bill 388, sponsored by Rep. Debra M. Sariñana (D-Abq.) and Sen. Michael Padilla (D-Abq.), seeks to boost the security of the state’s computers. It would provide $35 million per year for cyber attack response and recovery.
The bill would focus on protecting technology systems or databases owned or operated by the state government, political subdivisions, public schools, and tribal entities. The money would be administered by the cybersecurity office if a companion bill (Senate Bill 280) passes.
Behavior of politicians
Legislators are also scheduled to consider a bill to clarify expectations for the behavior of current and former politicians. House Bill 5, sponsored by a handful of Democratic legislators, amends the Government Conduct Act.
The bill would clarify that legislators can’t use their title and official stationary while profiting from non-official business. For example, legislators who are lawyers would not be allowed to refer to the fact that they are lawyers while representing clients in their professional jobs outside the Roundhouse.
The bill also clarifies that sex cannot be traded for official favors in a “quid pro quo” manner. It also makes subsequent private employers potentially liable for the conduct of former politicians they hire and increases the maximum civil penalty that can be charged under the Governmental Conduct Act.
In case you missed it: State budget moves forward
Every year, a big focus is the state’s multi-billion-dollar budget. This year, thanks to extra income from sources like the oil and gas industry, the state budget could be larger than ever.
Recently, the house passed a proposed $9.4 billion budget. “It’s not just this year, it’s not just next year, and it won’t be forever, but it’s a moment in time where New Mexico has the most opportunity we’ve ever had to make lasting investments, to make smart savings, and to do the sort of things that New Mexicans, no matter where they live, no matter what background they come from, they know is going to be meaningful in their lives,” Rep. Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces) said about the budget.
The budget focuses on funding key programs in education and public safety, among a range of government departments. For more details, check out this KRQE News 13 story.