Gov. Lujan Grisham signs New Mexico Civil Rights Act into law

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed into law the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, strengthening the protection of New Mexicans’ rights, privileges and immunities as provided for in the bill of rights of the state constitution.

The measure allows a person to sue any public body — like the state, city or county — or its employees for a civil rights violation under the New Mexico Constitution. It also prohibits the use of qualified immunity as a defense for depriving a person of those constitutional civil rights.

The legislation allows people to sue their local governments up to $2 million if their civil rights are violated.

The New Mexico Civil Rights Act was sponsored by House Speaker Brian Egolf, Sen. Joseph Cervantes, Rep. Georgene Louis and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero.

Gov. Lujan Grisham released the following statement:

“New Mexicans are guaranteed certain rights by our state constitution. Those rights are sacred, and the constitutional document providing for them is the basis of all we are privileged to do as public servants of the people of this great state. Indeed, good public servants work tirelessly every single day to protect those rights, to ensure them, to safeguard New Mexicans. But when violations do occur, we as Americans know too well that the victims are disproportionately people of color, and that there are too often roadblocks to fighting for those inalienable rights in a court of law.

In response to some of the commentary surrounding this measure, I will say: This is not an anti-police bill. This bill does not endanger any first responder or public servant – so long as they conduct themselves professionally within the bounds of our constitution and with a deep and active respect for the sacred rights it guarantees all of us as New Mexicans.”