Local Leagues in New Mexico

New Mexico League Positions

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico may advocate at the State level for any positions that have been adopted at the national level by the LWVUS, or at the state level by LWVNM.

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LWVNM POSITIONS

These are the positions approved at the 2013 Convention, held in Las Cruces May 18-19, 2013, and updated by the LWVNM Board at its April 5, 2014 meeting. A printable copy can be downloaded as a PDF or Word file.

SUSTAINABILITY (Adopted 2007

Sustainability (Adopted 2007)

The LWVNM believes that potential impacts on sustainability should be considered in formulating new positions and in advocating using current positions. Sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the current generation without impairing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

GOVERNMENT

Apportionment and Redistricting Adopted 2009; revised 2013

LWVNM supports a redistricting process and standards that provide the people with a meaningful choice in electing their representatives and facilitate holding government accountable.

The criteria for preparing redistricting maps should require that districts meet all Federal criteria including equal population and the provisions of the Voting Rights Act. In addition, it is important that districts:

The League supports having an independent commission or other independent group develop redistricting plans meeting these criteria.

The public must have access to all information used in the redistricting process on a timely basis, and have the opportunity to comment and be heard on the proposed redistricting processes, criteria, and results.

Campaign Finance and Ethics (Adopted 1993; revised 1999, 2002, 2007)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that methods of financing political campaigns and public offices should ensure the public's right to know, combat corruption and undue influence, maximize fiscal accountability and transparency, and allow maximum citizen participation in the political process.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports legislative compensation that is fair and reasonable, recognizing that there is a cost to government and that the cost should be paid by the taxpayers of New Mexico.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports a fair, equitable and reasonable combination of public/private funding of campaigns for New Mexico state elective offices. Participation in the public/private financing should be voluntary. Participants should agree to voluntary spending limits. The legislation should provide for a source of revenue to fund the program.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports limits on gifts and contributions to candidates for elected offices and to the holders of elected and appointed offices.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports firm and consistent enforcement of campaign finance, gift and contribution reporting laws with significant penalties for non-compliance and wide public dissemination of reports.

An independent office or commission should have the authority to oversee campaign finance and gift laws as well as other ethics rules and lobbying laws, to receive allegations and complaints, to conduct investigations and to present cases to the appropriate enforcement agencies.

The Constitution (Adopted 1969)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports a New Mexico Constitution which is concise and comprehensible, providing a basic framework adaptable to present and future needs of state government. LWVNM supports a less restrictive amending process in the Constitution.

Election Procedures (Original position 1969; extensively revised 1999; revised 2001, 2007)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports:

  1. protection of the right of every citizen to vote;
  2. procedures to guarantee the integrity of all statutory methods of voting in New Mexico;
  3. funding to meet the requirements of the law and to serve the needs of the voters to ensure that elections are conducted accurately, fairly, and efficiently;
  4. a centralized voter registration and election management system;
  5. statewide uniformity in early voting for all elections;
  6. an all-inclusive system of voting that allows all registered voters to participate in the primary election;
  7. more direct citizen involvement in the candidate selection process for special elections to fill a vacancy in the US House of Representatives;
  8. amending the State Constitution to allow run-off elections in the case of non-partisan elections.
  9. consolidation of elections in New Mexico.

The Executive (Adopted 1969; revised 1983, 1995)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports four-year terms for state executive officers, preferably elected in non-presidential years with limitation of two consecutive terms in the same office. LWVNM supports a shortened ballot.

The Judiciary (Adopted 1962; revised 1987)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports a unified court system, adequately financed, with centralized administration and fiscal control achieved through:

  1. Selection of judges of the higher courts by a method similar to the American Bar Association Plan which proposes that judges be appointed by the governor from a screened list submitted from a non-partisan nominating commission and be subject, at intervals, to election for retention or rejection.
  2. Adequate personnel for the juvenile court.
  3. An advisory judicial council.

Local Government (Adopted 1969; revised 2000)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports home rule for municipalities.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports a combined form of city/county government.

Public Regulation Commission (Adopted 2012; revised 2013)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports the following with respect to the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) and the entity regulating insurance:

  1. PRC candidates should be evaluated on the basis of qualifications by a broad-based nonpartisan process.
  2. Candidates for the PRC should have education and/or appropriate professional experience in a related field or in consumer advocacy. There should also be mandated, ongoing professional training after election.
  3. The PRC should be funded by assessments on the industries that it regulates and those funds should be sequestered from the general fund.
  4. the Legislature should approve a budget sufficient to enable the PRC to carry out its allotted duties successfully.
  5. Insurance and Utilities should be regulated by separate agencies.
  6. The laws forbidding ex parte communications between Commissioners and those who are interested parties in cases before the PRC should be very strong, and penalties for violating these laws also should be strengthened.
  7. The PRC should have an inspector general charged with reviewing practices for handling incoming payments properly, conducting internal audits of other functions, and pursuing such other investigations as are deemed necessary.
  8. PRC Commissioners and advisory staff should be prohibited from working in a business regulated by the PRC for at least 1 year after they complete their tenure at the PRC.
  9. Consumer interests should have strong representation when the PRC is making policy decisions and setting rates.

State Finance (Adopted 1971; revised 1975, 1983, 1989)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that a fair tax must be:

  1. equitable, taking into consideration relevant differences between persons, such as their annual income
  2. certain, not arbitrary
  3. convenient with respect to timing and manner of payment
  4. economical to collect
  5. adequate to finance the essentials of government.

The tax system in New Mexico should be progressive. LWVNM may support taxes that are regressive if it is determined that the tax will achieve a socially desirable objective.

In evaluating the average burden of taxation within the state, taxes should be compared with income of New Mexico residents; in comparing the burden of taxation in New Mexico with the burden imposed by other states, state and local taxes should be combined.

Tax credits and/or deductions should be evaluated based on promotion of equity and the efficiency with which they achieve their purpose.

Tax credits may be a means of providing relief from the regressive nature of the sales and property tax.

State Personnel (Adopted 1954; revised 1983)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports a merit system of selection, retention, promotion and dismissal of personnel in state government.

Term Limitations (Adopted 1992; revised 1995)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico opposes term limitations for our state legislators.

Transparency in State and Local Governments (Adopted 2011)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico (LWVNM) expects all state and local governments, executive and legislative, to follow the requirements of the New Mexico Open Meetings Act (OMA) and Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA).

LWVNM also recommends that all state and local governments, executive and legislative, adopt the following policies and practices regarding open meetings and public records, over and above what is legally required by the OMA and the IPRA, within reasonable budget constraints:

  1. Open Meetings
    1. Maintain a comprehensive list of all meetings that are open to the public, along with their time, place, and agenda. With the exception of emergency meetings, announce public meetings at least one week in advance, using display ads in standard public media and on the government web site. To the extent that is practical, have all written materials that will be used in a public meeting available a week in advance, preferably on-line, or let the public know where and how such materials can be obtained.
    2. Broadcast as many public meetings as possible, in both real-time and an archived format, preferably on-line.
    3. Allow time and access for public input on important issues.
    4. Develop and publish a policy concerning public attendance and participation at meetings of government bodies that are not covered by the OMA.
    5. Make draft minutes of public meetings available to the public as soon as they are filed with the clerk or other appropriate official.
    6. In order to avoid the possibility or the perception that executive sessions may be used to keep from informing the public on certain issues, the League recommends the following policies on executive sessions:
      1. Hold meetings in executive session only when absolutely necessary, even though the OMA may allow otherwise.
      2. Include an explanation of the purpose of the executive session in the meeting agenda.
      3. Keep a public record of all attendees at executive sessions and make that information public when the public body reconvenes after executive session.
      4. On important matters of wide public interest that have been discussed in executive session, publish a draft motion based on what was discussed in executive session and allow public input on it at a public meeting before a vote is taken.
  2. Inspection of Public Records
    1. Create an inspection of public records policy and procedure whose goal is to help the public obtain the maximum amount of information they may want to discover about their government and do so in a timely and cost-effective manner.
    2. Publish a price list for copying different types of public records.
    3. Develop a policy regarding the production and cost of spreadsheets, lists, and other reports which may not already exist as public documents but whose data exist within government files and in which there is a public interest.
    4. Use the government website as a repository of all information that is most likely to be needed by the public, including (but not limited to) open meetings and public records policies, meeting lists, proposed agendas, minutes, contents of meeting packets, frequently requested documents, contact information for government employees, resolutions and ordinances, personnel and procurement policies, and the location and mission of various departments and divisions.
    5. Use the government website as a repository for searchable budget and financial records, including operating budgets, expenditures over a specified amount, checks/warrants and any other budget and financial information made available to the governing body. These data should be in a non-proprietary format that maximizes the public's ability to download and analyze data.
    6. Ensure that the government website is easy to use and search, that the information posted there is timely and up-to-date, and that it provides for interactive processes, such as requests for public records, whenever feasible.

LWVNM recommends that state and local governments go beyond open meetings and inspection of public records in their efforts toward open, accessible governance. We especially recommend these practices:

  1. State and local governments' resolutions, ordinances, or published policies should cover ethics and conflict of interest, providing sanctions for violations.
  2. Managers responsible for transparency should be trained and evaluated according to relevant statutes, policies, resolutions and ordinances. Elected officials should receive training on statutes and other mandates applicable to them.
  3. State and local governments should encourage input and listen to their constituents. They should make it easy for constituents to comment on local issues, and as budgets allow they should periodically assess the needs, desires, and satisfaction of their constituents. They should respond to constituents' recommendations by changing policies and practices or providing explanations when they reject such input.
  4. State and local governments should provide timely and complete information to their constituents on current topics.
  5. State and local governments should provide up-to-date, easy-to-find information about their office locations, building directories, organization charts, and contact information for managers of key functions.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Natural Resources (Adopted 1976; revised 1987)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that state government should accept a major responsibility in addressing the societal problems associated with resource development in the state. We believe that the state is the most effective level of government to attack these problems. The state should make planning expertise available to the local communities and work with them in identifying problems and choosing solutions. Where rapid development makes the cost of facilities prohibitive for local communities, there should be a state mechanism for providing necessary financial assistance. Coordination of national, regional, state and local government efforts, with effective citizen participation is necessary.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports the principle that environmental and social costs of resource development should be borne by the ultimate consumer. However, sharply higher prices as a result of covering environmental and social costs should be coupled with a mechanism to keep those costs from bearing unduly on any one segment of the population.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports a strong state resource conservation policy. The state should provide leadership, set a public example in its operations, develop and enforce regulations promoting conservation, and actively educate its citizens.

The protection of ground and surface water from contamination and the control and reduction in volume of hazardous, toxic and radioactive substances before they reach the land, air or water should be major parts of resource conservation policy. The state should not be prevented from having stricter control standards than those of the federal government. Public Health and well being should rank as the highest priority. The use of alternate energy sources should be encouraged.

Water (Adopted 2010)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that consumptive use of water in New Mexico must be in balance with renewable supply. Healthy ecosystems naturally perform services that benefit both people and nature, such as cleaning water, reducing floods, and creating fish and wildlife habitat. To secure the benefits of functioning ecosystems and to conserve New Mexico's biodiversity, sufficient water must be budgeted for environmental flows. The creation and adherence to comprehensive water budgets is essential to preserve public lands, water, and open space, and to ensure that there will be enough water for future generations of New Mexicans. The state, water regions, and local governments must

  1. monitor and measure all water resources and uses, and publish this information;
  2. use a public process to create and follow water budgets;
  3. educate citizens on their responsibilities as well as their rights;
  4. promote strategies to reduce demand;
  5. minimize water contamination in order to promote the health and safety of all life;
  6. preserve and restore rivers and watersheds.

Conservation of water and efficiency of use must be encouraged to enable New Mexico to meet its interstate compact obligations, to help balance use with supply, to relieve stress on the physical system, and to reduce net depletion.

Regional Water Planning

The League supports continued funding for regional planning. Using a public process, regional planning should

  1. gather and publish data on supply and demand, and provide regular updates;
  2. create a balanced water budget;
  3. identify critical and emerging issues.

Local land use plans should be required to be consistent with applicable regional water plans.

The public welfare statements of a regional water plan should be considered by the State Engineer when reviewing applications for transfer of water rights.

Land Use and Water

Land use and development must be tied to water availability. To encourage this:

  1. Compliance with water availability determinations by the Office of the State Engineer (OSE) under the Subdivision Act should be mandatory.
  2. Review of subdivision applications pursuant to the Subdivision Act should be expanded to encompass all divisions of land.
  3. Long-term cumulative impacts as well as short-term water requirements of development should be taken into consideration by the local permitting authority.
  4. The applicant must be required to acquire water rights before development can proceed.
  5. The impact of any transfer of water rights on the area of origin must be assessed.
  6. The permitting authority should evaluate the impact of proposed developments on "public welfare" as defined by the applicable regional water plan and be able to demonstrate that the proposed development is consistent with the plan.
  7. New residential and commercial developments should be water-efficient.
  8. Growth should not be permitted where water is not available.

Local zoning and subdivision statutes should be updated. State and local governments should collaborate in addressing the problem of antiquated subdivisions in order to facilitate planning and to make the water budget process meaningful.

Role of Government

State government and the legal process must work to reconcile the many claims on New Mexico water in a manner that is open and as fair as possible. Among other considerations:

  1. Communal as well as private interests must be respected in applying water law;
  2. Maintenance of in-stream flow and general ecological health must be recognized as a "beneficial use" of water.

The Office of the State Engineer should be adequately funded to execute its functions. In addition:

  1. The OSE must be given more authority to regulate domestic well permits. Improved regulation and monitoring of domestic wells and septic systems is essential to protect groundwater supplies and should be adequately funded.
  2. The effort to gather data must be coordinated and adequately funded by the state, which should establish consistent protocols, accounting methods, and terminology.
  3. The state should also help implement the regional water plans and provide coordination among planning activities at the different levels of government and across river basins.

Government should support research on water-related issues including

  1. methods to manage and store water that lose less to evaporation,
  2. best agricultural practices that optimize the use of water for both farmers and downstream users, while sustaining the natural flow;
  3. urban systems that maximize water re-use;
  4. health of the state's rivers and watersheds.

Governments at every level must educate citizens by developing and disseminating data about water resources. Local governments must promulgate and enforce regulations promoting conservation, including positive incentives and rate structures.

SOCIAL POLICY

Affordable Housing (Adopted 2013)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports current and future efforts to increase the availability of safe, decent, and affordable housing for moderate and low income households through the following actions.

Alcohol (Adopted by LWVNM Board, 4/5/14)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that alcohol abuse is a public health issue and can be most effectively approached as such.

To address the impact of alcohol abuse, the League supports the following:

The League's priorities for taking action to reduce alcohol abuse are

  1. establishing education and prevention programs, especially for minors.
  2. developing and funding well-organized, efficient, and effective treatment programs with dedicated revenue streams.
  3. increasing parental responsibility by means of education and social responsibility laws.

Child Care (Adopted 1978; revised 1983, 2003)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes there should be an adequate supply of good quality child care throughout New Mexico, both in child care centers and in family day care homes, to be implemented by:

  1. Fiscally responsible planning and use of private, industrial and government funds;
  2. Appropriate licensing requirements and supervisory procedures;
  3. Support services for parents;
  4. Efforts to make quality child care available to all who need such services;
  5. Programs to meet the before and after school needs of school-age children.

Death Penalty (Adopted 2006)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports the repeal of the death penalty and the institution of a sentence of life in prison without parole as an alternative.

Pending repeal, the LWVNM supports the implementation of the recommendations in the Final Report of the State Bar of New Mexico Task Force to Study the Administration of the Death Penalty in New Mexico (January 2004) including

Drug Policy (Revised and adopted 2007)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports:

These programs should be prudently and appropriately funded. (Adopted 2002; revised 2003, 2007.)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that the serious problem of driving while intoxicated (DWI) demands legislative programs. The League supports:

Economic Development (Adopted 2003)

The League of Women Voters New Mexico supports economic development with a focus on:

The League of Women Voters New Mexico believes that the state should have a strong leadership role in planning, implementing, and funding economic development. This role should include:

Education (Adopted 1987; revised 1995, 2009)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports:

With reference to educational programs, LWVNM supports a system of public education that prepares students to function within a changing interdependent society. Specific goals include:

Enhance the sense of community within the school, as a microcosm of the larger society, through standards of conduct that reflect a concern for the opinions, values, aspirations, and well-being of all.

Education - Public School Finance (Adopted 1973; revised 1983, 1993, 2002, 2007)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports the continued use of a broadly based distribution formula to take into consideration differences in student need, teacher experience and qualification, the number of schools and students in a district, level of education, capital outlay and transportation.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports the goals of the New Mexico Funding Formula as an effort to achieve equality and as an attempt to provide fair funding for every child, based on need, regardless of location. There should be periodic review and modifications to assure that the formula is faithful to its original intention.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that local school districts should control the distribution of funds from the state.

Health Care (Adopted 1991; revised 1993, 2005, 2007)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports a health care system that provides a comprehensive level of health care for New Mexico residents and recognizes the need for efficient management of health care costs. (Revised and adopted 2005.)

The LWVNM believes that any health system implemented should have the following:

Quality health coverage for all New Mexicans. Every New Mexican should have full health care coverage, a benefit package that is at least equal to the best plan offered to state employees, and access to the services covered. Participation should be mandatory. Pre-existing conditions should not be excluded from coverage.

Effective cost management. Cost management should increase the health care benefits that accrue to patients from any given level of spending.

Improvement of health care quality and safety. A comprehensive effort to improve the quality and safety of health care in New Mexico should be launched and sustained, with dramatically increased public funding.

Equitable funding.Reform should seek to reduce or eliminate cost-shifting across categories of insurance programs and payers, both public and private, and to make the distribution of financial burdens more equitable.

Simplified administration. Reform should include the development of standardized forms, minimization of complicated co-pays/deductibles, and assurances of timely payment to providers. (Adopted 2007.)

Every New Mexico resident should have a comprehensive level of health care. The League favors a national health insurance plan, but until one is in place, the League supports expansion of state and federal plans. (Revised and adopted 2005.)

Juvenile Concerns (Adopted 1977; revised 1978, 1979, 1985, 1993, 1995, 2003)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that our state has no resource of greater importance or value than its children. Programs, personnel and facilities that promote and encourage the child's fullest development must be a high priority within the private sector as well as in city, county and state governments.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that social and economic concerns and juvenile justice must be interconnected for the fair and equitable treatment of all children.

The League of Women Voters supports the development of an integrated plan for the continuum of services, available to all children and their families. The programs in the continuum should include, but not be limited to: prevention, intervention, family support, education, physical, emotional, and social well being, substitute care, and juvenile justice programs. The programs and associated services in the continuum should be community-based wherever feasible.

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports the establishment of sound program standards for all facilities serving children and youth. e.g. day care, foster care, follow-up services, residential care and reintegration centers and the development of clear professional guidelines for all staff members of such programs. Programs should include but not be restricted to:

Physical and emotional health and well-being

Substitute Care

Family Support

Juvenile Justice

Mental Health (Adopted 2013)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico (LWVNM) expects state and local governments to support an adequately funded mental health care system that provides comprehensive services to the acutely, chronically and seriously mentally ill of all ages; maintains optimal mental health services for all clients; places emphasis on meeting the needs of children; offers mental health services for the homeless; seeks additional funds for preventive services; implements a master plan to integrate services; raises awareness of critical unmet needs; and emphasizes case management.

LWVNM specifically supports

  1. Adequately funded mental health care systems that
    1. provide comprehensive services to the acutely, chronically and seriously mentally ill of all ages;
    2. place emphasis on meeting the needs of children;
    3. seek additional funds to provide preventive services;
    4. offer mental health services for the homeless;
    5. maintain optimum mental health services for all clients.
  2. Implementation of a master plan that
    1. ensures that there will be a network of integrated services, clearly defined and consistent with a community support model;
    2. advocates an awareness of and concern about the critical unmet needs;
    3. emphasizes case management that includes assistance with housing, financial entitlements, rehabilitative and vocational programs.
  3. Centers for the seriously and chronically mentally ill apart from the county system.
  4. Regulations that provide an adequate length of time for evaluation and treatment of involuntary holds.
  5. Model mandatory outpatient care programs with adequate supervisory staff.