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Legislative roundup, Feb. 8, 2018

February 8, 2018 GMT

Days remaining in session: 8

The lobbyist lobby: Look up a bill on the Iowa Legislature’s website, and you might notice a nifty link alongside the text of the bill.

Click “Lobbyist Declarations,” and you will get a list of which lobbyists have been talking to lawmakers about that bill.

Turns out that legislators in New Mexico are not keen on taking a step in that direction.

The Senate Rules Committee voted 6-2 Wednesday to block a bill that would have required lobbyists to report which pieces of legislation they are advocating for or against.

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The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, said the public would have benefited from the measure. “It would help show all the forces at work behind a piece of legislation,” he said.

But members of the committee from both parties said more information may not necessarily give the public a better understanding of the Legislature. They argued that policymaking can be complicated. A bill’s supporters might turn against it on a dime over a late amendment that changes its very meaning, for example.

“There’s no nuance to it,” Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, said of the bill.

Mr. Smith leaves Santa Fe: Rep. Jim Smith, R-Sandia Park, says he is not planning on running for re-election.

A member of the state House of Representatives since 2011, Smith has been a reliable vote on some conservative issues. But he also has regularly worked across the aisle, particularly on legislation concerning government transparency and accountability. When Republicans held a majority, from 2015 through 2016, he was chairman of the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee.

“I passed a lot of bills over the years. … I’m just kind of getting to that point in my legislative career,” he said Wednesday.

Smith’s district stretches from the southern end of Santa Fe County to Placitas, Tijeras and points south. But just because Smith is not running for re-election does not necessarily mean his seat will be up for grabs by the other party. The district has more registered Republicans than Democrats, and President Donald Trump won it in 2016.

Quotes of the day: “We should protect freedom of speech even if it means we have to put up with some nonsense.” — Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, speaking against a memorial calling for campaign finance reform.

“If there’s nothing else to do in town, you go to school.” — Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Logan, citing an statewide school truancy report that says Corona students never miss school. The House Education Committee voted to approve a bill to address truancy.

On our website

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