Media Contact

Davida Gallegos,

February 17, 2022

As the 2022 legislative session comes to a close, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico commends partner organizations, advocates and many legislators for their work advancing civil liberties in New Mexico. Leaps towards a more just and equitable New Mexico were made through legislation that improved police training efforts, provided funding for crime prevention, and invested $30 million in the Tribal Remedy Framework, as well as through the passage of The Harm Reduction Act, The Paid Family Medical Leave Memorial, and the Indian Family Protection Act. 

“We went into this session, as we always do, with optimism and the belief that the people of New Mexico deserve real, evidence-based, long-term solutions to our most serious social issues,” said Nayomi Valdez, Policy Director for the ACLU of New Mexico. “We successfully fought against the unconstitutional attempts to expand pretrial detention and made every effort to oppose harmful practices disguised as solutions such as increased penalties, new crimes, and over-spending on traditional police officer recruitment.”

As part of the criminal justice package, urgently needed progress was made in improving training standards and funding crime prevention programs. But other important pieces of legislation that would’ve had a positive impact in our communities did not make it over the finish line. This includes the Senate’s last minute decision to remove a provision of the criminal justice package that would have established a police officer database, making it possible to track bad actors and keep them out of our departments, ensuring much needed accountability. 

Important measures like the Second Chance Bill, Fines and Fees Flexibility, and the expansion of the Human Rights Act fell victim to a lack of political will and time. Senate Bill 144, the New Mexico Voting Act, would have automatically restored the right to vote for people who have been incarcerated and ensured access to the ballot box for New Mexico’s tribal communities. We will continue to support the work of our partners and legislators, whose efforts developing that powerful legislation should not be overshadowed by this session’s shortcomings. 

“We honor the true leadership shown by so many advocates and elected officials who rallied and worked incredibly hard trying to pass monumental voting rights legislation, and are saddened it was not met with the political will New Mexicans deserve,” Valdez said. “We look forward to working with our partners, legislators, and community on advancing legislation that uplifts, empowers, and delivers justice and liberty to every New Mexican in future legislative sessions.