NM Senate, House at odds over regulatory changes

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm •  Published: February 20, 2013
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A House-passed measure requires PRC candidates to have a combined 12 years of professional experience or higher education in a field related to the regulatory agency, such as economics, accounting, engineering, law and government administration.

The standards won't apply to the current five PRC members, who need only to be 18 years old and state residents. Commissioners are paid $90,000 a year.

Sen. Tim Keller, an Albuquerque Democrat, said the Senate proposal tried to "strike the right balance" of professional experience for regulators.

"For better or worse, the voters spoke loudly in our last constitutional ballot and they said that they want the Legislature to provide qualifications. So it's up to us to figure out what those qualifications should be," Keller said.

But Sen. Linda Lopez, an Albuquerque Democrat, opposed the proposed standards, saying they were too restrictive and could exclude women, minorities and others with extensive work experience from seeking the elective office.

"Who are we eliminating from having an opportunity to run for this august body of the PRC," Lopez asked.

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Follow Barry Massey on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bmasseyAP