LAS CRUCES – If you want to run for election as a member of the Public Regulation Commission – to set utility rates and a host of other responsibilities – all you need to qualify is to be 18 years old, be a resident of New Mexico and have no felony convictions.
If a proposal passes during the election on Nov. 6, though, the Legislature next year would create precise qualifications.
“We encourage you to vote on that,” said Beverlee McClure, president and CEO of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry. She spoke at the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Luncheon on Tuesday.
“(PRC) commissioners actually have a lot of power over corporations and job growth in this state,” she said. “It’s the largest regulatory body in the nation.”
State Rep. Joseph Cervantes, who is running for state Senate this year, said that he agrees with the need for change.
“We need to have people on the PRC who have minimum qualifications,” Cervantes said.
State Rep. Terry McMillan said that there are a couple bills that failed in the past legislative session that could be introduced again.
“An issue that got the most attention is the driver’s license bill,” he said. “Gov. Martinez’s attempt to stop issuing driver’s licenses to people who are not here legally. It went down in defeat, but the numbers improved, and I think this battle will be waged again next session and it’ll be very public.”
McMillan said another issue that received a lot of attention but failed was an education bill.
“The governor has pieces of legislation that are important to her in respect to education reform,” he said.
One bill would have allowed students in third grade or lower to be held back for one year if they can’t read at grade level.
“It did not pass at this session, so we expect it to be on the agenda for next session,” McMillan said.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal