Legislature New Mexico Civil Rights Act Headed To Senate Ground – Los Alamos Reporter


The New Mexico Civil Rights Act was passed 5-4 by the Senate Judiciary Committee today and will now go to the Senate.

Sponsored by Representatives Georgene Louis (D-Albuquerque), Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) and Senator Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces), House Bill 4: The New Mexico Civil Rights Act offers a path to justice for New Mexicans whose constitutional rights have been violated by government actors.

The New Mexico Bill of Rights protects the freedom of New Mexicans with respect to the rights to life and liberty, security and happiness, free elections, freedom of religion, speech and press, equality between men and women, and victims’ rights. Currently, victims who have violated these rights have no access to justice in a state court. The New Mexico Civil Rights Act just manages that path.

“New Mexicans earn their day in court when their civil rights are violated regardless of race or origin,” said Rep. Georgene Louis. “I believe that through this committee process we are optimizing a bill that takes into account the needs of stakeholders while considering the systems that continue to perpetuate civil rights abuses in the various communities in our state.”

“We’re one step closer to giving the people of New Mexico a meaningful opportunity to defend their rights under the New Mexico Bill of Rights,” said House Speaker Brian Egolf. “At every step we have tried to ensure that the New Mexico Civil Rights Act is available so that New Mexicans can access justice in state courts.”

After hearing the legitimate concerns of stakeholders, the latest version of House Bill 4 clarifies that no individual teacher, law enforcement officer or other public employee can be sued, bringing government agencies solely to justice. The bill also puts a $ 2 million cap, including attorney fees, on judgments under the law that provide cities, counties, and other businesses with financial predictability and allow them to purchase insurance. The law was changed today to remove acequias, land grants and other small government entities from the definition of a public entity.

Members of the public can follow the legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House Floor meetings through the Webcasts tab, or attend from Zoom to provide public comments on committee hearings. During the 2021 legislative session, the House of Representatives will focus on passing critical laws while protecting the health and safety of the public, staff and lawmakers.

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