March 18, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Santa Fe, NM – Today, the New Mexico legislature passed Senate Bill 426 establishing the first-ever dedicated Civil Rights Division within the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. The legislation confers broad authority on the Attorney General to investigate state or local agencies and protect New Mexicans from any deprivation of their civil rights.
“The passage of Senate Bill 426 brings us one step closer to the creation of New Mexico’s first Department of Justice and, if signed by the Governor, will give us important new tools to protect the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Attorney General Torrez. “Today’s action by the New Mexico legislature will enable this office to safeguard the civil rights of children, the elderly, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups across the state. I want to say thank you to Senator Joseph Cervantes for sharing our vision for robust civil rights enforcement and shepherding this bill through the legislature.”
“As sponsor of the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, this shows a real commitment to enforcement of that law and to the rights deserving protection,” added Senator Cervantes.
The creation of this new Civil Rights Division puts New Mexico in line with other states around the country that have active civil rights units that protect their citizens from inequities and injustices. Once signed by the Governor, the Office will immediately begin recruiting efforts to build a unit of highly skilled civil rights advocates and litigators.