Miller: Session Should Be Over

Jay Miller
Inside the Capitol - As we enter the third week of New Mexico's special session on redistricting, we begin to see some signs of life. Some of the easier bills are popping out into public view. The easiest bill is the one redistricting the elected Public Education Commission. The PEC is so inconsequential, it hardly exists. Its predecessor, the elective State Board of Education was powerful, indeed, making all the important decisions about education. But in 2003, newly-elected Gov. Bill Richardson convinced New Mexico voters that in order for him to make the bold changes that education needed, he must have the power to accomplish it. That fall, voters gave him the power on a bipartisan vote. An advisory elective Public Education Commission was created in order to make voters happy that they still had something to vote on – even though they never had been able to name a single member of the formally powerful board. As evidence of the new education board's inconsequential nature, often no one ran for some of the positions on the board. Sometimes positions would be filled by last-minute write-in candidates. A few years later, the board was given the authority to approve or disapprove charter schools. Now, at least, the board has an official duty. One wouldn't think that would be enough for map makers to make enough changes to carve two incumbents into the same district. But it happened. The oversight now having been corrected appears to be in sufficiently good shape to move along to the governor for her signature. Read full column here: News New Mexico



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