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New Mexico Voters OK Ethics Commission

New Mexico voters have approved a constitutional amendment that clears the way for the creation of an independent ethics commission.

The proposal was on the ballot this year after many years of debate in the Legislature over establishing such a panel to address complaints involving elected officials, public employees and others.

The state has had a string of public corruption scandals going back more than a decade, with two state treasurers, two state senators, a secretary of state and a deputy insurance superintendent going to prison on criminal charges.

Most recently, a former state taxation and revenue secretary is facing felony charges of embezzlement and using a position in government for personal gain.

The number of states with ethics commissions has steadily increased in recent years, leaving New Mexico as one of six without one, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.