2019 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 12 - Miscellaneous Public Affairs Matters
Article 1 - Compilation Commission
Section 12-1-8 - Rules of construction governing compilation of statutes.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 12-1-8 (2019)

In carrying out the duties provided by law and contract, absent an expressed contrary legislative intent, the executive director of the New Mexico compilation commission and the advisory committee of the supreme court shall be governed by the following rules:

A. if two or more acts are enacted during the same session of the legislature amending the same section of the NMSA, regardless of the effective dates of the acts, the act last signed by the governor shall be compiled in the NMSA and, if the New Mexico compilation commission, after consultation with the legislative council service, determines that the provisions of one or more of the earlier signed acts can be reconciled with the act that is to be compiled, those provisions shall be incorporated in the last-signed act and compiled in the NMSA. The history following the amended section shall set forth the section, chapter and year of all acts amending the section. A compiler's note shall be included in the annotations setting forth the nature of the difference between the acts or sections, if any; and

B. if two or more irreconcilable acts dealing with the same section of law are enacted by the same session of the legislature, the last act signed by the governor shall be presumed to be the law. The act last signed by the governor shall be compiled in the NMSA with an annotation following the compiled section setting forth in full the text of any conflicting section of any earlier signed act.

History: 1953 Comp., § 1-1-7.1, enacted by Laws 1977, ch. 74, § 5; 2013, ch. 176, § 1; 2019, ch. 74, § 7.

ANNOTATIONS

The 2019 amendment, effective May 3, 2019, after "legislative intent, the", deleted "secretary" and added "executive director.

The 2013 amendment, effective April 4, 2013, provided for the compilation of multiple amendments to the same section of law when their provisions are deemed reconcilable; in Subsection A, in the first sentence, after "signed by the governor", deleted "shall be presumed to be the law and", after "compiled in the NMSA", added the remainder of the sentence, and in the second sentence, after "acts or sections", added "if any"; and in Subsection B, in the first sentence, after "acts dealing with the same", deleted "subject matter" and added "section of law" and after "any conflicting", deleted "acts" and added "section of any earlier signed act".

Temporary provisions. — Laws 2013, ch. 176, § 2 provided that multiple amendments to the same section of law that were enacted before the effective date of this act may be reconciled and compiled in accordance with the provisions of Laws 2013, ch. 176, § 1.

Limitations on statutory construction. — An examination of two acts passed by the 1977 legislature, and Section 12-1-8 NMSA 1978 governing their respective stature in the official compilation of the laws of New Mexico, would have shown that because one act was signed into law by the governor after the other, the last act signed is presumed to be the law. A state court is free to apply its rules of statutory interpretation without federal review. However, where the court departed from the rule of statutory construction stated in Section 12-1-8 NMSA 1978 and applied other rules of statutory construction to give effect to both conflicting enactments, the court's interpretation of the conflicting enactments was not foreseeable and violated the due process clause. Devine v. N.M. Dep't of Corrs., 866 F.2d 339 (10th Cir. 1989)

Faced with the appearance of a conflict, the compilation commission has no choice but to compile the last act signed by the governor as presumptive law. In most cases that presumption will prevail, yet in limited circumstances it may not. State v. Smith, 2004-NMSC-032, 136 N.M. 372, 93 P.3d 1022.

This section applies rules of construction governing the compilation of statutes: all rules of statutory construction are but aids in arriving at the true legislative intent. Quintana v. N.M. Dep't of Corrs., 1983-NMSC-066, 100 N.M. 224, 668 P.2d 1101.

Repeal of section blocks later amendment of same section by same legislature. — Where two acts are enacted during the same session of the legislature, and the earlier act repeals an existing law while the later act amends that law, the later act cannot be given effect because the earlier act repealed the law which the later act purported to amend. Quintana v. N.M. Dep't of Corrs., 1983-NMSC-066, 100 N.M. 224, 668 P.2d 1101.

Under Section 12-1-8 NMSA 1978, the determination of which of two or more acts amending the same statutory provision is the law for purposes of codification generally depends solely on which act the governor signed last. The rule will apply unless (1) the legislature has expressly stated its intent to the contrary, or (2) there are other valid reasons, beyond the fact that the acts amend the same section of the NMSA, that convincingly rebut the presumption set forth in Section 12-1-8(A) NMSA 1978 that only the act last signed by the governor is law. 2000 Op Att'y Gen. No. 00-05.

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