SANTA FE, NM (STL.News) Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday 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 litigate any deprivation of those rights, privileges or immunities and prohibits the use of qualified immunity as a defense for depriving a person of those constitutional civil rights.
Per a Senate amendment, claims from incidents prior to July 1, 2021 – the effective date of the new law – may not be brought. A public body’s liability for damages under the state Civil Rights Act is capped at $2 million.
Sponsored by House Speaker Brian Egolf, Sen. Joseph Cervantes, Rep. Georgene Louis and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, the legislation was a product of the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission, authorized by the Legislature and Gov. Lujan Grisham in a summer 2020 special session to evaluate potential statutory changes or policy recommendations in the wake of the unjustified killing of George Floyd in Minnesota police custody.
“New Mexicans are guaranteed certain rights by our state constitution,” said Gov.