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Campaign spending disclosure bill passes Senate via 36-6 vote

SANTA FE — Groups or individuals spending big money on political advertisements in New Mexico would face more stringent donor disclosure requirements under a bill that passed the Senate on Wednesday.

The Senate voted 36-6 to approve the measure, Senate Bill 3, which is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe.

While federal court rulings have limited the state’s ability to regulate certain political spending, the bill would “give voters the information they need to know where the money is coming from,” said Wirth, who has also pushed similar proposals in past years.

It’s supported by Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat who implemented similar requirements through rulemaking in 2017.

That action, which is now facing a court challenge, came after then-Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a similar campaign finance bill.

“Senate Bill 3 represents a major step forward on transparency and accountability in campaign finance reporting,” Toulouse Oliver said in a statement.

The six “no” votes on the legislation were cast by Republican Sens. Cliff Pirtle of Roswell, Pat Woods of Broadview, Craig Brandt of Rio Rancho, William Sharer of Farmington, and Mark Moores of Albuquerque.

They were joined by Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, who said he supported most of the legislation but objected to a provision dealing with campaign contribution limits.

This year’s measure now advances to the state House.

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