House Approves New Rules To Reduce Corruption

New Mexico – The House has approved a measure to ban elected and appointed officials or government employees from working as lobbyists or governmental contractors if they're convicted of public corruption.

The legislation by Republican Rep. Nate Gentry of Albuquerque will toughen penalties for a corruption conviction, adding one year to the prison sentence for crimes such as embezzlement or receiving a bribe. A public official also could lose their pension if convicted of corruption. A court proceeding will determine whether retirement benefits are forfeited.

Under current law, former state Treasurer Robert Vigil was able to continue receiving his state pension despite a conviction of attempted extortion.

The House unanimously approved the bill on Wednesday and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.