New Mexico voters to decide future of powerful commission

New Mexico voters to decide future of powerful commission

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – It will be up to New Mexico voters to decide the future of a powerful commission in charge of regulating utilities and other businesses.

A constitutional amendment on the ballot proposes changing the Public Regulation Commission from elected to governor-appointed members.

Supporters say the change would ensure that commissioners are experienced regulators rather than politicians. As of now, they say there’s unbridled influence from environmental and industry lobbyists working to sway commissioners’ votes.

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Opponents call it a power grab by the governor that would eliminate voters’ ability to elect their own representatives.

Commission Chairman Steve Fischmann is among those with concerns. He said the ballot language is misleading because it doesn’t tell voters that current law calls for commissioners to be elected. The measure states new appointees would be selected by the governor from a list of qualified nominees, asking voters to change the law without giving clarity on the process as it stands

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