Open government remains elusive in New Mexico

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Over at Steve Terrell’s Santa Fe New Mexican blog I see the Senate has defeated a measure that would open conference comittees to the public and media:

The Senate just voted 16-22 against Sen. Dede Feldman’s SB294, which would make conference committees fall under the open meetings act.

You can read the full¬†account of the debate¬†in tomorrow’s New Mexican.

One of the highlights of the hour-plus debate was Sen. Rod Adair, doing a pretty good JFK imitation to mock arguments against the bill.

“If you pass this law, we’re going to violate it. If you make us have open meetings, we just won’t do it. If you pass this law, we’re headed for the Bullring …”

I also liked Sen. Cisco McSorley’s joke, which he attributed to the late Congressman Mo Udall.

“The difference between a caucus and a cactus is with the cactus, the pricks are on the outside.”

Well, that’s certainly great news for the citizens of New Mexico. While I had earlier misgivings about this measure, I’ve come around to thinking open government is always good. There can be no half-measures when it comes to democracy, and back-door dealing on behalf of the people is simply unacceptable.