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In Brief

Tougher Corruption Penalties Proposed

An Albuquerque lawmaker has introduced legislation that would create stricter penalties for public officials convicted of corruption-related crimes.

Introduced by Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, House Bill 111 would increase jail sentences by one year for public officials convicted of embezzlement and other corruption charges involving taxpayer money.

The law would also prohibit convicted former public officials from lobbying state lawmakers or contracting with state agencies, and allow the individual’s state pension to be revoked.

The legislation, supported by Gov. Susana Martinez, passed the House unanimously last year but died on the Senate floor.

Donor Disclosure Proposed Again

The Legislature may again consider a law to require political action committees and other nonprofit groups campaigning on behalf of state lawmakers to disclose the names of their donors.

Introduced by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, Senate Bill 11 would require political groups to publicly report who donated money to help fund advertising or other campaigning for New Mexico state elections, including races for governor and legislative seats.

The bill, which passed the Senate in 2011 and died in the House, would allow the state to regulate the super political action committees, or PACs, that the U.S. Supreme Court has said are allowed to fund national campaigns with no required reporting of donors, Wirth said.

“If these super PACs engage in our state elections … then at least we should know who the donors are,” Wirth said.

“The key thing is that this (donated) corporate money can be Democratic, it can be independent, it can be Republican. I think we’ve seen the impact of what it can do in races,” he said.

Wirth said he hopes the election year could help push lawmakers to take action this session.

Capital Punishment Amendment Sought

A state legislator proposes reinstating the death penalty in New Mexico, but allowing voters to decide whether that should happen.

Republican Rep. Dennis Kintigh of Roswell has introduced a constitutional amendment to restore the death penalty in certain circumstances, including the murder of a police officer.

New Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2009, replacing it with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Constitutional amendments need voter approval to be implemented. If Kintigh’s proposal clears the Legislature, it will be left to New Mexico voters to decide whether to reinstate the death penalty.

Kintigh is a retired FBI agent.

Two men are on death row. Their sentences were not affected by the 2009 law repealing the death penalty.

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