After stirring up a flap among a newly elected combination of regulators, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) on Thursday rescinded a mandatory prohibition against one of its five members facing criminal charges, replacing it with a softer resolution that would make it voluntary for any member who is a criminal or civil defendant to recuse themselves from votes on internal personnel and administrative matters at the commission.

With one of its current members facing criminal charges for possession of marijuana, three of the PRC members (two of whom remain) voted for preventing any commissioner charged with a felony from voting on internal commission business. The lawyer for Commissioner E. Shirley Baca, who maintains her innocence, subsequently charged that the PRC action was unconstitutional because it blocked a state elected official from doing her job.

After rescinding that policy, by a 3-2 vote Thursday the regulators approved a resolution that effectively gives commissioners the option to voluntarily remove themselves on internal commission matters if they are a defendant in a criminal or civil case. The three commissioners voting for the resolution pledged to support it if they were ever facing criminal or civil charges.

One of the newly elected members, Jason Marks, categorized the mandated policy as unconstitutional, and led the push to get rid of the ill-fated policy.

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