After years of secrecy, and obfuscated efforts to keep it that way, legislators capital outlay spending will now be publicly disclosed for New Mexicans to review. Representative Matthew McQueen of Galisteo has, for years now, submitted legislation requiring that capital outlay requests be made available to the public – and this year his bill finally broke through the gridlock. In the past legislators were free to publicize their own capital outlay requests but it was not mandatory until this year. Additionally, because Rep. McQueen’s bill had a a so-called emergency clause, it went into effect immediately upon the Governors signature.
The new law requires the Legislative Council Service to publish the the complete list of outlay requests for each legislator, along with dollar amounts, 30 days after the Legislative Session’s conclusion. This year’s report comes in at 166 pages and outlines 2,400 projects and which legislator or legislators sponsored it. The final tab for all of the listed projects comes in at just over half a billion dollars. For this year’s legislative session, each representative had slightly more than $1.3 million to spend, while each senator had nearly $2.2 million.