A subcommittee of the New Mexico House Rules Committee has been named to consider impeachment of Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. after the current 30-day special session.
Block, who earns $90,000 per year as a commissioner, is in his first term after winning election in 2008. The agency was created by the merger of the old Public Utility Commission and the State Corporation Commission with voter approval in 1996.
The commission oversees a broad range of commercial activity in the state, from utilities to transportation. The PRC’s economics bureau conducts economic and financial market analyses for all utilities.
The bureau provides expert testimony on cost of capital analysis and financial market issues, rate design, utility financing, general economic issues such as net present value, cost-benefit analysis, competition, elasticity, utility diversification issues, corporate structure analysis, and holding companies.
Block, who has admitted an addiction to painkillers, has been accused of misuse of a state-issued gas card and other crimes, including violation of campaign finance laws in 2008. He also drove his state-issued vehicle on a suspended license for 11 months before voluntarily giving up his driving privileges, officials said.
Former Secretary of State Mary Herrera fined Block $11,700 and required him to return $10,000 in campaign funds.
After Block refused to resign, Democratic House Speaker Ben Lujan selected the co-chairs of a subcommittee to lead impeachment proceedings in an extraordinary session. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has also called for Block to resign.
In August, the New Mexico Court of Appeals overturned a district judge’s decision to dismiss felony charges against Block. Block’s father, Jerome Block Sr., once held a seat on the Public Utility Commission.
The New Mexico Legislature is in special session to consider redistricting and other issues.