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Possible move to salaried legislators in the works in New Mexico
By Geoff Pallay
The per diem received while in session makes New Mexico the only state that does not have a formalized pay structure for legislators. Legislators are not the lowest-paid -- New Mexico officials receive $200 for a two-year term -- but most states have more substantial salaries.
Recently, a combination of editorials and legislative opinions imply there is a growing bi-partisan push for a change to the New Mexico Constitution to instill salaries, ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 per year.
One reason cited is the increasing revolving door of legislators becoming lobbyist. Governor of New Mexico Susana Martinez (R) has proposed a ban on legislators becoming lobbyists for at least two years once they leave office. Most recently, Kent Cravens (R) resigned to become a lobbyist for New Mexico Oil & Gas Association. Some legislators said a one-year ban would help remove the perception that legislators are corrupt.