Common Cause New Mexico Releases First “New Mexico GPA” Report Card

Aug 23, 2017

Commentary: Common Cause New Mexico (CCNM) today issued its first New Mexico GPA (NMGPA) Legislative Report Card recording the votes of legislators on its 2017 priority transparency, ethics and good government legislation. The report card is featured on the organization’s new website.  

The NMGPA grades elected officials on how they voted on five priority measures in the 2017 session including:

•SB 96, Sen. Peter Wirth, Rep. Jim Smith: Campaign Finance Disclosure

•SB 393, Sens. Jeff Steinborn, Daniel Ivey-Soto, Jacob Candelaria, Rep. Jim Smith: Lobbyist Reporting Requirements

•HJR 3 Sen. Bill O’Neill, Rep. Carl Trujillo: Constitutional Amendment to Create an Independent Redistricting Commission

•HJR 8, Reps. Jim Dines, Bill McCamley, Nathan Small, Daymon Ely, Sen. Jeff Steinborn: Constitutional Amendment to Create an Independent Ethics Commission

•HB 28, Rep. Patricia Roybal Cabellero: Driver’s License Automatic Voter Registration

Percentage grades reflect the importance of both committee and floor votes for CCNM’s priority legislation.  “Each legislator had a different number of opportunities to do the right – or the wrong – thing,” said Heather Ferguson, legislative director of Common Cause New Mexico, “and this report card reflects the actions taken by each legislator on the floor and in committee.”

In January, all legislators were given a list of CCNM’s priority bills covering campaign finance, ethics, increased voter access and protecting core values to our state’s democracy and they were advised that their votes on those bills would be recorded for the NMGPA. After the session, these votes are tallied and a percentage grade is awarded.  An example of the formula used for this calculation is as as follows: if a legislator had 15 opportunities to either support a good government bill or oppose it, and they voted to support that bill 14 times, their GPA would be 14/15 or 93%.  Sponsors of CCNM’s priority bills were awarded extra credit, with the final percentage recalculated with an extra point, thus increasing the ratio of the number of positive votes cast, to the total number of votes they had the opportunity to cast.  You can find a complete detail of legislators’ recorded votes and an explanation of the NMGPA methodology on the new NM GPA site.

After each future legislative session, legislators will receive a new session grade, which will then be combined with previous session grades, resulting in a cumulative, or lifetime NMGPA.

New Mexico’s citizens will now be able to easily see where their legislators stood on the issues that are a critical part of our state’s ability to function in a fair and open manner,” Ferguson said.   ###

Common Cause New Mexico is an affiliate of Common Cause. Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promotes equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empowers all people to make their voices heard as equals in the political process.