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Three Public Regulation commissioners oppose Amendment One

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In last week’s paper, the Chair of the Public Regulation Commission told readers he opposed Constitutional Amendment One appearing on this year’s presidential election ballot in New Mexico.

Now two more commissioners have joined Stephen Fischmann.  They are Vice Chair Commissioner Jefferson L. Byrd and Commissioner Theresa Becenti-Aguilar.

Reforming the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has been an on-going debate and will now be left to the voters of New Mexico to decide.

In 2012, the Legislature and voters passed an amendment to Article 11 Section 1 of the New Mexico Constitution to ensure that PRC Commissioners meet minimum education, experience, and ethical standards. The commissioners, unlike other elected officials in the state, are required to meet those minimum standards to earn their pay.

The current five member elected administrative agency was created by the Constitution of New Mexico and charged with the responsibility to regulate public utilities, transportation companies, transmission and pipeline companies and other public service companies, including the State Fire Marshal’s Office, in the manner provided by the legislature.

Amendment 1 would change the PRC from the five member elected administrative agency, to a three member commission appointed by the governor with the advice of a vetting committee and consent of the senate.

In his op-ed in the Gallup Sun Oct. 9, Chairman Fischmann expressed his opposition to the amendment. Now he has been joined by two additional commissioners in his view.