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House to weigh transparency for NM capital projects

New Mexico’s capital outlay package funds projects throughout the state, including planned improvements to Paseo del Norte and other roads in Albuquerque, as seen in this file photo. (Jessica Dyer/Journal)

SANTA FE — A proposal to shed more light on New Mexico’s secretive capital outlay process is heading to the House floor — a quick start for a transparency measure that has previously stalled in the Senate.

The legislation, House Bill 55, would require the Legislature to publish a list of capital projects approved each year with details on which legislators sponsored each project and how much funding they allocated to it.

“Transparency around government spending increases public trust and makes us more responsive and accountable to our voters,” Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo, said in a written statement. “House Bill 55 will make capital outlay appropriations as transparent as all of our other official legislative actions.”

McQueen is jointly sponsoring the proposal with two fellow Democrats — Sen. Bill Tallman and Rep. Natalie Figueroa, both of Albuquerque — and Republican Rep. Kelly Fajardo of Los Lunas.

The bill passed its first and only House committee Monday and now heads to the full chamber for consideration.

A similar measure passed in 2019 but failed to make it through the Senate in time.

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