New Mexico House to consider impeachment of Public Regulation Commissioner

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August 24, 2011

New Mexico

SANTA FE, New Mexico: Earlier this month Gov. Susana Martinez (R) called for a special session of the legislature to deal with redistricting and other unresolved issues. Add another one onto that list - the possible impeachment of Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block, Jr. (D), who is currently under investigation for alleged abuse of a state issued gas card.[1]

Speaker of the House Ben Lujan, Sr. sent out a letter yesterday to Republican and Democratic leaders of the House outlining his plan to appoint a subcommittee of the Rules and Order of Business Committee to investigate and make recommendations on Block's possible impeachment. A subcommittee cannot be appointed until the special session convenes on September 6.[2]

Block came under fire earlier this month when an investigation found over $8,000 in charges to his state-issued gas card during the first six months of the year. He has also been accused of using personal information from other PRC employees to illegally use their gas cards, he was a suspect in a car theft, and was also found to be driving on an expired license. Following a week long absence from the job, Block announced that he had a substance abuse problem with prescription drugs, but has sought medical attention and is receiving treatment.[3]

Despite calls for his resignation from the governor, fellow PRC members, the head of the state Democratic Party and others, Block has refused to step down from his position. Per the state Constitution, a majority vote of the full House is required for impeachment. If impeached, Block would then face a trial in the Senate, with a two-thirds vote necessary to convict and remove him from office.[4]

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