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Governor gets bill requiring more sunshine on public contracts

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Among the fewer than 200 bills that await the governor’s signature is one requiring that additional information on state contracts worth more than $20,000 be made publicly available on the state’s Sunshine Portal beginning in 2017.

The Association of Commerce and Industry, which supported SB 537 sponsored by Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, and Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, said in a release that the requirements would add “transparency and accountability to the way New Mexicans’ tax dollars are spent.”

Rue said it would make the terms and conditions of contracts publicly available and also let New Mexico businesses see which contracts are going to out-of-state companies.

The bill would require state agencies to provide such information as: the contract purpose, amount spent, name of the recipient and a copy of the contract or link to an online copy. The law currently requires only that agencies post contract purchase order information.

“It’s good public policy for people to see these documents,” Rue said.

Rue sponsored the 2010 bill that created the Sunshine Portal, a website that displays state financial information.

The bill’s fiscal impact report said complying with the bill could stretch the resources of the state Department of Information Technology since most state agencies have their own customized way to track and store contract documents.

The deadline for Gov. Susana Martinez to sign the bill is April 10. The governor’s office said she is still reviewing legislation from the session.