2019 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 12 - Miscellaneous Public Affairs Matters
Article 2A - Uniform Statute and Rule Construction Act
Section 12-2A-1 - Short title; applicability.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 12-2A-1 (2019)

A. This act [12-2A-1 to 12-2A-20 NMSA 1978] may be cited as the "Uniform Statute and Rule Construction Act".

B. The Uniform Statute and Rule Construction Act applies to a statute enacted or rule adopted on or after the effective date of that act unless the statute or rule expressly provides otherwise, the context of its language requires otherwise or the application of that act to the statute or rule would be infeasible.

C. Subsection B of this section does not authorize an administrative agency to exempt its rules from a provision of the Uniform Statute and Rule Construction Act.

History: Laws 1997, ch. 173, § 1.


Effective dates. — Laws 1997, ch. 173 § 22 made the Uniform Statute and Rule Construction Act effective July 1, 1997.


Construction is issue of law. — Where the question is simply one of construction, the courts may pass upon it as an issue "solely of law." Pan Am. Petroleum Corp. v. El Paso Natural Gas Co., 1966-NMSC-271, 77 N.M. 481, 424 P.2d 397.

Rules of construction to resolve not create ambiguity. — Techniques in aid of construction of a statute are used to resolve an ambiguity, not to create one. Tafoya v. New Mexico State Police Bd., 1970-NMSC-106, 81 N.M. 710, 472 P.2d 973.

Rules not inconsistent with intent. — If there be doubt as to a statute's construction, courts are permitted to interpret, to arrive at the intention of the legislature, but rules or canons of construction are not to be invoked to arrive at a construction inconsistent with clear intent. State ex rel. Maloney v. Sierra, 1970-NMSC-144, 82 N.M. 125, 477 P.2d 301.

All rules of statutory construction are but aids in arriving at the true legislative intent and should never be used to override same where it otherwise plainly appears. Bradbury & Stamm Constr. Co. v. Bureau of Revenue, 1962-NMSC-078, 70 N.M. 226, 372 P.2d 808.

Statute construed to make whole act consistent. — In statutory construction, the inquiry is to determine what particular words, clauses or provisions mean and to determine the legislative intent. Statutes are enacted as a whole and each part should be construed in connection with every other part to ascertain the intent, and where a comparison of one clause with the statute as a whole makes a meaning clear the act must be so construed as to make the whole consistent. Reed v. Styron, 1961-NMSC-119, 69 N.M. 262, 365 P.2d 912.

When power conferred, rights to effect are implied. — It is a fundamental rule of construction that when a power is conferred by statute everything necessary to carry out the power and make it effective and complete will be implied. Kennecott Copper Corp. v. Employment Sec. Comm'n, 1967-NMSC-182, 78 N.M. 398, 432 P.2d 109.

When power not granted is implied. — A power not expressly granted is implied only where it is necessary to carry into effect powers expressly granted. Kennecott Copper Corp. v. Employment Sec. Comm'n, 1967-NMSC-182, 78 N.M. 398, 432 P.2d 109.


Usual principles governing construction of statutes apply also to interpretation of constitutions. State ex rel. State Hwy. Comm'n v. City of Aztec, 1967-NMSC-046, 77 N.M. 524, 424 P.2d 801.

No interpretation when provision is clear and unambiguous. — When a constitutional provision is clear and unambiguous, it is not subject to interpretation or construction by this court. State ex rel. Sage v. Montoya, 1959-NMSC-029, 65 N.M. 416, 338 P.2d 1051.

Intent arrived at from vantage point of framers. — What the framers of the constitution intended as disclosed by the language employed is, of course, the interpretation properly to be given the instrument. That intent must be arrived at by construing together its various pertinent provisions and giving to each the meaning which its language most naturally suggests when considered in proper relationship to the others. We should, as nearly as we may, endeavor to look at the instrument from the vantage point of the framers the better to understand their view of the matter and the meaning likely intended. Whenever we refer to the framers that term is to be taken as embracing the people who adopted it. We are not unmindful of the rule of construction applicable to a constitution that its language is to be taken in its common and ordinary sense and as likely understood by the people who adopted it. State ex rel. Witt v. State Canvassing Bd., 1968-NMSC-017, 78 N.M. 682, 437 P.2d 143.

Intent controls literal application of language when result incongruous. — The supreme court is limited to determining the intention of those who adopted the constitution, and where the spirit and intent is clearly ascertainable as contrary to the strict letter of the language and literal application would lead to an incongruous result, it should not be permitted to control. State ex rel. Chavez v. Evans, 1968-NMSC-167, 79 N.M. 578, 446 P.2d 445.

Purpose and scope of constitutional provision must be considered. — Canon of construction that a sovereign is presumptively not intended to be bound by its own statute unless included by the clearest implication is but a rule of construction and consideration must be given to the purpose and scope of the constitutional provision (here N.M. Const., art. IX, § 12) involved. State ex rel. State Hwy. Comm'n v. City of Aztec, 1967-NMSC-046, 77 N.M. 524, 424 P.2d 801.

Duty of court to declare intent of amendment. — It is the duty of the court to search out and declare the true meaning and intent of any constitutional amendment adopted by the people, and this duty is no different in considering the constitution itself. State ex rel. Chavez v. Evans, 1968-NMSC-167, 79 N.M. 578, 446 P.2d 445.

Amendments valid unless illegal beyond reasonable doubt. — Whenever a constitutional amendment is attacked as not constitutionally adopted, the question presented is, not whether it is possible to condemn, but whether it is possible to uphold; every reasonable presumption, both of law and fact, is to be indulged in favor of the legality of the amendment, which will not be overthrown, unless illegality appears beyond a reasonable doubt. City of Raton v. Sproule, 1967-NMSC-141, 78 N.M. 138, 429 P.2d 336.

The constitution must be construed as a whole and the court held that the two sections, N.M. Const., art. V, § 3 and art. VII, § 2, should be read together, thereby requiring that in order to hold the office of governor, a person must be a citizen of the United States, at least 30 years of age, who has been a resident continuously for five years preceding his election and who is a qualified elector in New Mexico. State ex rel. Chavez v. Evans, 1968-NMSC-167, 79 N.M. 578, 446 P.2d 445.

Liberal construction of certain provisions. — Constitutional provision (N.M. Const., art. XIX, § 1) that electors be enabled to vote on amendments separately should receive a liberal, rather than a narrow or technical construction, especially where the legislature obviously considered the problem carefully, and the amendment has been submitted to the people for their vote thereon. City of Raton v. Sproule, 1967-NMSC-141, 78 N.M. 138, 429 P.2d 336.

Supplementary legislation may supply details to constitutional provisions. — Although a self-executing constitutional provision has full force on its own, the legislature may protect or further it through supplementary legislation. That is to say, a legislature may supply details relative to the constitutional provision. 1962 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 62-149.

No construction when intention clear. — The constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary as distinguished from technical meaning; where the intention is clear there is no room for construction and no excuse for interpolation or addition. 1960 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 60-205.

If meaning of statute doubtful, consequences are considered in construction. 1953 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 53-5878.

Rule of employment security commission construed same as statute. — Rule legally promulgated by employment security commission (now employment security division) has the same force as a statute and is therefore subject to the same construction. 1947 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 47-5115.

Law reviews. — For article, "Approaching Statutory Interpretation in New Mexico," see 8 Nat. Resources J. 689 (1968).

Am. Jur. 2d, A.L.R. and C.J.S. references. — 73 Am. Jur. 2d Statutes § 142 et seq.; 74 Am. Jur. 2d Time §§ 15, 16.

Supplying omitted words in statute, 3 A.L.R. 404, 126 A.L.R. 1325.

"Devise" or "devisee" in statute as including "legacy" or "legatee," or vice versa, 4 A.L.R. 246.

Statute requiring filing of formal notice of lis pendens in certain classes of cases as affecting common-law doctrine of lis pendens in other cases, 10 A.L.R. 306.

Meaning of "by" as fixing time for performance of an act or happening of an event, 12 A.L.R. 1168, 21 A.L.R. 1543.

Effect of mistake in reference in statute to another statute, constitution, public document, record or the like, 14 A.L.R. 274.

Retroactive effect of statute in relation to presentation of notice of claim for personal injury against municipality, 14 A.L.R. 710.

"Until" as word of inclusion or exclusion, 16 A.L.R. 1094.

"Similar," construed, 17 A.L.R. 94.

Act done on same day as, but before another act or event, as satisfying a statutory requirement that the former must precede the latter, 21 A.L.R. 1216.

Title of statutes as an element bearing upon their construction, 37 A.L.R. 927.

Retroactive effect of provision for reduction or increase of award under workmen's compensation law, 40 A.L.R. 1473.

Signing or endorsing bill or note by printing or stamping, 46 A.L.R. 1498.

Declaratory judgment construing statute, 50 A.L.R. 42, 68 A.L.R. 110, 87 A.L.R. 1205, 114 A.L.R. 1361.

Implied abrogation of state's prerogative right of preference at common law, 51 A.L.R. 1355, 65 A.L.R. 1331, 90 A.L.R. 184, 167 A.L.R. 640.

Computation of time allowed for approval or disapproval of bill by governor, 54 A.L.R. 339.

Resort to constitutional or legislative debates, committee reports and journals as aid in construction of statute, 70 A.L.R. 5

Amendments as aid in construction of statute, 70 A.L.R. 22.

Inclusion of Sunday in computation of time within which bill must be presented to governor, 71 A.L.R. 1363.

Stipulation of parties as to construction and effect of statute, 92 A.L.R. 663.

"And/or," 118 A.L.R. 1367, 154 A.L.R. 866.

Retroactive application of repeal of statute which operated as limitation of or exception to a substantive right of action in tort otherwise arising at common law, 120 A.L.R. 943.

Inclusion or exclusion of first or last day in computing period of time prescribed by insurance contract, 137 A.L.R. 1155.

Construction and application of statutory and constitutional provisions exempting property of persons in military service, or formerly in such service, from taxation, 149 A.L.R. 1485.

Removal or suspension of constitutional limitation as affecting construction of statute previously enacted, 171 A.L.R. 1070.

Constitutional requirement that repealing or amendatory statute refer to statute repealed or amended, to repeal or amendment by implication, 5 A.L.R.2d 1270.

Meaning of term "radius" employed in statute as descriptive area, location or distance, 10 A.L.R.2d 605.

Validity, construction, and application of statute limiting damages recoverable for defamation, 13 A.L.R.2d 285.

Simultaneous repeal and reenactment of all, or part, of legislative act, 77 A.L.R.2d 336.

What 12-month period constitutes "year" or "calendar year" as used in public enactment, contract or other written instrument, 5 A.L.R.3d 584.

82 C.J.S. Statutes §§ 330, 337, 338, 358; 86 C.J.S. Time § 13(1).

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