The five-member elected New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) selected a newcomer, Patrick Lyons, for its chairman on a split 3-2 vote Tuesday among the PRC members. Lyons is promoting a more pro-business approach to the state’s regulatory scheme.

Lyons, a veteran state official, will replace David King, who was prevented from continuing as the PRC chairman at the end of last year by term limits. Lyons comes to the state regulatory panel after eight years (2002-2010) as New Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Lands and eight years in the state Senate.

“I would like to see a task force established to look at what we can do to be more business friendly in the state,” Lyons said. “I want to take a look at some of the existing regulations to see if there are some that could be relaxed or loosened so as not to be burdensome to New Mexico businesses.”

The new chairman has asked PRC Chief of Staff Michael Rivera to begin creating a task force of various department heads at the regulatory commission to begin what he called “a thorough examination of existing rules and regulations.” Newly elected PRC Commissioner Ben Hall said he supports Lyons’ position.

Three existing PRC commissioners are continuing on the panel: Jason Marks, Jerome Block and Theresa Becenti-Aguilar. Block was selected to serve a second consecutive year as vice chairman of the commission.

Block welcomed the two newly elected members, Lyons and Hall, noting that the state regulatory panel has both Republicans and Democrats, but the party affiliations are not important to him. “When we deal with the issues in front of us in terms of party lines, it is the taxpayers who wind up losing in the end,” Block said. He urged his colleagues to “roll up their sleeves and work together,” regardless of party affiliations.

Lyons said his overriding goal is to make the PRC one of the state’s most efficient agencies.

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