NM Supreme Court To Hear Case Over Governor’s Business Fines

Posted On July 8, 2020

The Republican Party of New Mexico, which has financed and supported a lawsuit designed to protect all businesses in New Mexico from illegal fines issued by the Lujan Grisham Administration, learned today that the New Mexico Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case. The legal action involves five businesses and additional individual parties who charge the state has abused its power by fining them $5,000 a day as part of Gov. Lujan Grisham’s Public Health Order.

The Supreme Court Justices will hear oral arguments on August 4.

The lawsuit was filed by New Mexico businesses against Gov. Lujan Grisham, NM Secretary of Public Safety Mark Shea and NM Secretary of Health Kathyleen “Kathy” Kunkel.

The lawsuit charges that the governor is illegally threatening and fining businesses $5,000 a day under her Public Health Emergency Response Act, something she doesn’t have the power to do. The law allows $100 civil fines under the state’s Public Health Act. Under the Public Health Emergency Response Act, such $5,000 civil penalties only pertain to court-ordered isolation and quarantines of individuals and cannot be imposed by the executive branch of government. In addition, the Act does not authorize the closing or workforce reduction of businesses.

Some businesses in the state have been hit with fines as high as $135,000. The governor’s fines have crippled New Mexico’s economy and hundreds of businesses throughout the state have had to close their doors permanently.

The plaintiffs are calling for declaratory and injunctive relief in the wake of illegal closures and fines imposed against New Mexico establishments.

“These illegal fines imposed on local businesses are devastating livelihoods and killing our economy,” said Steve Pearce, Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman. “We are pleased the High Court has agreed to hear this important case. Our small businesses have been violated, and the governor has taken advantage of local businesses and taken liberties with these illegal fines. New Mexicans cannot tolerate this blatant abuse of power.”

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