ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - New Mexico voters have a lot more to think about then who will best fill Congressional seats or serve as president.
Three initiatives could mean big changes for an agency that's been riddled with problems and oversees New Mexico voters major utilities.
The Public Regulatory Commission is now infamous for a misbehaving member, Jerome Block Jr., but members of political think tank says voters could change that.
Jerome Block Jr. Has become the poster boy for what some call needed change within the state's Public Regulatory Commission. The convicted felon and admitted drug addict abused his state issued gas card while on the commission, stealing thousands. He admitted taking campaign money while running for the office.
Come November voters will be faced with three PRC reform-related decisions.
"This may be the thing on the ballot, even though it's on the back, that matters the most to working New Mexicans," said Fred Nathan, the Executive Director of Think New Mexico.
Think New Mexico is a by-partisan political think tank. Members say the initiatives are so important because the PRC does so much.
"The PRC regulates your phone bill, your electric bill, your gas bill, all of insurance, motor transportation, even fire marshall," Nathan explained.
There are three proposed initiatives to transform the commission. The first is a constitutional amendment to allow the state legislature to up the qualifications to serve on the PRC. Currently commissioners must be 18, live in New Mexico for at least a year and can't have a felony.
Think New Mexico says that's not enough.
"In fact the Public Regulatory Commission is the most powerful state regulatory agency in the country, and we think the qualifications for this office which pays $90,000 a year should reflect that responsibility," Nathan said.
The next amendment would make registering certain types of business the Secretary of State's job instead of the PRC's, a move Think New Mexico believes would help the economy grow by moving applications faster.
The last would make the Department of Insurance it's own office.
Nathan believes a little change could go a long way.
"That is the bottom line. We want a PRC that will better serve New Mexicans," Nathan said.
Not all of the PRC commissioners agree with the proposed changes. Some believe Think New Mexico doesn't fully understand their jobs and admit they've had some bad commissioners, but say that doesn't mean the PRC needs a complete overhaul.
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