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Changes in New Mexico's sunshine law may be on the horizon

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  1. Freedom of Information
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King said he plans to ask the legislature next year to update the state's open…

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King said he plans to ask the legislature next year to update the state’s open records law.

Changes include requiring governmental bodies to accept e-mail requests for documents. Currently, the law is ambiguous as to whether e-mail is considered the same as written requests for public records.

King also proposed making it a misdemeanor to violate the law, with fines up to $500. Courts currently can award damages, costs and legal fees to individuals for successful lawsuits as a way to enforce the law. This change would resemble the penalties in place right now for violating the Open Meetings Act.

Another change includes requiring public disclosure of certain donors to university fundraising foundations. Donors who solicit contracts or do business with universities will need to disclose their contributions, but the nonprofit foundations would not need to disclose their donors.