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Fundraising on hold during session

SANTA FE, N.M. — For four legislators running for higher office this year, the 30-day session has put a deep freeze on fundraising efforts.

Per state law, all 112 legislators and the governor are barred from raising campaign funds from Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, the session’s last day.

The “blackout” period is intended to reduce the possibility of undue influence during legislative sessions. It applies not only to re-election campaigns, but also to bids for other elected office.

The four lawmakers seeking higher office during this year’s election cycle are: Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces, who is running for state auditor; Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, who is running for Congress; Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, who is running for governor; and Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, who is running for lieutenant governor.

As of Wednesday, Herrell was the only one of the four legislators to still have a “donate” link on her campaign website.

Joey Keefe, a spokesman for Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s office, said that’s not explicitly against state law since technology has outpaced the state’s campaign finance law.

However, he said it is not considered a “best practice” by the secretary of state, a stance that aligns with the positions of previous secretaries of state.

Strolling through the session

The New Mexico Department of Health wants the 30-day session to be a vigorous one – and not just when it comes to debating.

The agency announced Wednesday it was organizing a “session stroll” challenge intended to encourage more walking – and less sitting – at the Roundhouse.

Specifically, the agency said it would encourage its employees to keep track of how many miles they log during the session, which ends Feb. 15.

It also invited lawmakers, legislative staffers and other agencies to take part in the challenge – and announced the Twitter hashtag of #NMDOHsessionstroll to assist in the endeavor.

“Participating in legislative bill analysis, committee hearings and other lawmaking activities can often mean a lot of sitting,” said Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher, who described the initiative way as an “exciting” way to stay motivated during the session.

There was no immediate word as to whether new shoes might be given to the winner.

Dan Boyd: