New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a bill Wednesday ending qualified immunity for all government workers, including police. New Mexico is the first state to end qualified immunity for all public employees.
"The measure allows a person to litigate any deprivation of those rights [secured by the bill of rights of the constitution of New Mexico], privileges or immunities and prohibits the use of qualified immunity as a defense for depriving a person of those constitutional civil rights," Lujan Grisham said in a statement.
Lujan Grisham maintained the bill wasn't "anti-police," saying it "does not endanger any first responder or public servant – so long as they conduct themselves professionally within the bounds of our constitution and with a deep and active respect for the sacred rights it guarantees all of us as New Mexicans," Fox News reports.
Forbes reports that under the new law, if a state or local government employee infringes someone’s rights within their scope of employment, the victim can sue the government employer for damages under the state constitution. Crucially, this new “cause of action” specifically bans qualified immunity as a legal defense
The law goes into effect on July 1 and claims from incidents prior to that date may not be brought, the Hill reports.