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State’s economic recovery council to meet in private

SANTA FE – An advisory commission to the governor on economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is not subject to the state’s Open Meetings Act and its deliberations will be closed to the public, a spokesman under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.

Charlie Moore

Taxation and Revenue Department spokesman Charlie Moore said summaries will be provided of work by the so-called economic recovery council, which includes leaders from a range of businesses from a rural general store in Clayton to the San Francisco-based renewable energy developer Pattern Energy and New York-based mass media conglomerate NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast.

“We do not at this point plan on opening the group’s discussions to the public,” Moore said in an email Monday. “The Recovery Council is an advisory group only and for that reason not subject to Open Meetings Act requirements.”

Lujan Grisham said last week that she will consult with a council of business leaders as the administration develops a phased plan for possibly relaxing restrictions on nonessential businesses and social distancing directives. Meeting calendars and agendas were not available.

A bipartisan council of mayors also is being assembled to provide advice through the governor’s chief of staff, John Bingaman. It was unclear which mayors may participate.

Lujan Grisham has indicated that New Mexico will extend its public health order through May 15 in efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, amid a surge in infections in the northwestern part of the state, including vast areas of the Navajo Nation. She has vowed to sanction businesses that flout restrictions on nonessential business.

The first-term Democratic governor has created advisory groups to advance a long list of policy initiatives, with mixed outcomes, since taking office in January 2019.

An advisory group developed recommendations on pension reforms that formed the basis of a solvency overhaul enacted this year. Reform recommendations from an advisory task force on legalizing recreational marijuana languished during the legislative session that concluded in February.

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