Businesses sue governor over threat of fines for violating public health order | KOB 4

Businesses sue governor over threat of fines for violating public health order

Chris Ramirez
Updated: May 21, 2020 05:12 PM
Created: May 21, 2020 04:27 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Several businesses in New Mexico filed a lawsuit against the governor. They claim she has over-extended her authority by threatening to fine businesses that defy the public health order.

The lawsuit claims that the penalty for defying a public health order is $100, but the businesses say they have been threatened with a $5,000 fine.


The Republican Party of New Mexico is bankrolling the lawsuit.

"We believe the governor is mixing two different laws. She's taking that $5,000 penalty that comes from one law and she is applying it to another law," said Steve Pearce, chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico. " We don't think she has a right to do that. We've investigated it thoroughly, and it looks like the most she can do is levy a $100 fine, like a traffic ticket."

The suit goes on to state, "This has placed (businesses) in fear that, should they slightly or accidentally violate one of the orders...They will be subject to the potentially ruinous financial penalties imposed."

"We're just asking the courts-- does she really have the right to threaten businesses with a $5,000 fine," Pearce said. " We do not think she does." 

The suit goes on to state that alleged violators can only take their case up in an administrative hearing with the Health Department. The businesses believe they should be able to take their case to a real judge in a real courtroom. 

"We hope the courts find she is overreaching her capability," Pearce said.

KOB 4 reached out to the governor's office for comment on the lawsuit, but did not hear back.

Click here to read the full lawsuit

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