By Billy Huntsman
New Mexico State University reported spending $10,340.85 in lobbying costs at the 2016 legislative session to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office.
The money was spent on ‘jerseys’ ($1,681.25) and ‘reception’ ($8,659.60).
“Each year, state lawmakers take part in a basketball game to benefit New Mexico cancer treatment and research,” says Minerva Baumann, director of media relations at NMSU’s University Communications, on behalf of the university’s Governmental Affairs Office. “The team from the House of Representatives is the ‘Aggies,’ and the team from the Senate is the ‘Lobos.’ Each school provides the jerseys for the players to wear during that game.”
This ‘Hoops 4 Hope’ game is a 17-year tradition that, over the past five games, has raised more than $86,000 for UNM’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. Tickets to the game, which this year was played on February 11 in the Santa Fe High School Gymnasium, were $5 and all proceeds, a pledged sum of $22,349, said Justin Schroer, director of development at the CCC, with checks still coming in, went to the CCC.
Like the basketball game, the reception is an annual event held for alumni, says Baumann, some of whom are also legislators, which is why the costs for the reception are reported.
“About one-third of NMSU’s total budget comes from money allocated by the state legislature,” Baumann says.
This fiscal year, that amounted to more than $200 million, Baumann says, which is used to fund instruction at NMSU’s Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Grants, Carlsbad, and Doña Ana campuses.
“It also funds general university business, as well as NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service, the Agricultural Experiment Station, and other programs that impact people around the state,” Baumann says. “It’s important for the university to continuously work with our friends in the state legislature, so they are aware of the great research and outreach being done by our outstanding students, faculty, and staff and how we are using the funds they entrust with us to benefit the people of New Mexico.”