Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has invoked the 2003 Public Health Emergency Response Act as justification for the mandates put in place in response to the current coronavirus pandemic.
Readers can read this law at https://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2019/chapter-12/article-10a/ or by searching Chapter 12-10A at http://nmonesource.com. Various lawsuits are being filed, challenging whether the governor is overstepping the powers authorized under that act.
The Public Health Emergency Response Act, Section 12-10A-2, “Purposes of the act,” states that the purpose of the Public Health Emergency Response Act is to “provide the state of New Mexico with the ability to manage public-health emergencies in a manner that protects civil rights and the liberties of individual persons.” The statutes then supply details of how those objectives should be met.
Is the governor protecting the civil rights and the liberties of individual persons? Is forcing individuals to wear masks, preventing people from assembling in groups or preventing people from attending church services protecting civil and individual rights?
Are these actions constitutional?
Mandates imposed are excessive, inconsistently applied and arbitrary. Is it arbitrary that large stores with large numbers of people can be open but small ones with just a few people cannot be?
What public-health purpose is being served and what is the source of the authorization for keeping boats off Elephant Butte Reservoir or preventing people from fishing at Fenton Lake State Park?
Invoking public-health concerns does not grant the governor unlimited powers. Powers can be and are being assumed by the governor to be valid unless they are challenged in court.
It is up to the people to be sure that powers conferred are not powers abused.