2019 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 12 - Miscellaneous Public Affairs Matters
Article 2A - Uniform Statute and Rule Construction Act
Section 12-2A-10 - Irreconcilable statutes or rules.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 12-2A-10 (2019)

A. If statutes appear to conflict, they must be construed, if possible, to give effect to each. If the conflict is irreconcilable, the later-enacted statute governs. However, an earlier-enacted specific, special or local statute prevails over a later-enacted general statute unless the context of the later-enacted statute indicates otherwise.

B. If an administrative agency's rules appear to conflict, they must be construed, if possible, to give effect to each. If the conflict is irreconcilable, the later-adopted rule governs. However, an earlier-adopted specific, special or local rule prevails over a later-adopted general rule unless the context of the later-adopted rule indicates otherwise.

C. If a statute is a comprehensive revision of the law on a subject, it prevails over previous statutes on the subject, whether or not the revision and the previous statutes conflict irreconcilably.

D. If a rule is a comprehensive revision of the rules on the subject, it prevails over previous rules on the subject, whether or not the revision and the previous rules conflict irreconcilably.

History: Laws 1997, ch. 173, § 10.

ANNOTATIONS

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

I. GENERAL CONSIDERATION

Using legislative intent. — Where three acts were enacted to amend Section 66-8-102 NMSA 1978 at the same session of the legislature, were signed by the governor on different dates, and had different effective dates and did not conflict with each other, the language of the three enactments, in addition to their titles and purposes, indicated that the objective of the legislature was to make specific, independent improvements to the statute and permitted the three enactments to be construed harmoniously to give effect to each enactment. In the course of amending an existing law, if the legislature restates existing law to comply with Article IV, Section 18 of the New Mexico constitution, the courts are not obligated to read into that legislative act a repeal by implication of other legislation passed in the same session. A better rule is to make legislative intent paramount to the application of a mechanical rule. State v. Smith, 2004-NMSC-032, 136 N.M. 372, 98 P.3d 1022.

Amendment or repeal by implication not unconstitutional. — Fact that act may amend or repeal certain provisions of other statutes by implication does not offend against N.M. Const., art. IV, § 18, referring to amendments. State ex rel. Taylor v. Mirabal, 1928-NMSC-056, 33 N.M. 553, 273 P. 928.

Two statutes covering same subject matter should be harmonized. — When two statutes are enacted by the legislature covering the same subject matter, one of them in general terms and the other in a more detailed way, the two should be harmonized, if possible, and construed together. State v. Rue, 1963-NMSC-090, 72 N.M. 212, 382 P.2d 697.

If two statutes not absolutely irreconcilable both given effect. — Repeals of statutes by implication are not favored, and when two statutes cover in whole or in part the whole matter and are not absolutely irreconcilable, effect should be given if possible to both of them. Waltom v. City of Portales, 1938-NMSC-022, 42 N.M. 433, 81 P.2d 58; White v. Board of Educ., 1938-NMSC-009, 42 N.M. 94, 75 P.2d 712; State v. Moore, 1936-NMSC-044, 40 N.M. 344, 59 P.2d 902; Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. v. Town of Silver City, 1936-NMSC-036, 40 N.M. 305, 59 P.2d 351; State v. Fidelity & Deposit Co., 1932-NMSC-022, 36 N.M. 166, 9 P.2d 700; James v. Board of Comm'rs, 1918-NMSC-106, 24 N.M. 509, 174 P. 1001; Hagerman v. Meeks, 1906-NMSC-032, 13 N.M. 565, 86 P. 801.

Where apparent conflict, without repeal statute will be reconciled. — Where there is an apparent conflict between two acts, without any repeal, the two will be reconciled. State v. Moore, 1936-NMSC-044, 40 N.M. 344, 59 P.2d 902.

Presumption that legislature knew existing law and did not intend inconsistency. — In interpreting a statute this court may presume that the legislature was informed as to existing law, and that the legislature did not intend to enact a law inconsistent with any existing law or not in accord with common sense or sound reasoning. City Comm'n of Albuquerque v. State ex rel. Nichols, 1965-NMSC-104, 75 N.M. 438, 405 P.2d 924.

Not construed together if repugnancy or unreasonableness would result. — Statutes relating to same subject should be construed together if possible, but this effect should not be accorded to statutes when it leads to contradiction or repugnancy, absurdity or unreasonableness. In re Martinez' Will, 1942-NMSC-026, 47 N.M. 6, 132 P.2d 422.

If two sections from same act conflict, last placed controls. — The sentence concerning requirement that directors be stockholders, contained in 51-2-14 (since repealed), is in § 5 and the one found in 51-6-1 (since repealed) is in § 8 of the 1927 amendment. If two provisions of the same statute are irreconcilable, the provision last placed will be deemed to repeal the other. The sentence quoted from 51-6-1 was the provision last placed and was controlling. Great W. Constr. Co. v. N.C. Ribble Co., 1967-NMSC-085, 77 N.M. 725, 427 P.2d 246.

Penalty provisions of pari materia statutes are irreconcilable, later controlling. — Two statutes where they condemn the same act are in pari materia. The penalty provisions being different, they are irreconcilable, impliedly intending that the last expression of the legislature should control. State v. Chavez, 1966-NMSC-217, 77 N.M. 79, 419 P.2d 456.

II. GENERAL-SPECIFIC STATUTES.

Goal of general/specific statute rule. — The primary goal of the general/specific statute rule is to determine legislative intent in the context of potentially conflicting laws. The general/specific statute rule provides a method to resolve an otherwise irreconcilable conflict between statutes by treating the specific statute as an exception to the general statute. For criminal statutes, the rule has both a particular analytical framework and a particular result. In analysis, the court determines whether the general/specific statute rule applies to two criminal statutes by comparing the elements of the crimes and, if necessary, resorting to other indicia of legislative intent. State v. Cleve, 1999-NMSC-017, 127 N.M. 240, 980 P.2d 23.

Application of general/specific statute rule. — The general/specific rule applies to both civil and criminal statutes. State v. Blevins, 1936-NMSC-052, 40 N.M. 367, 60 P.2d 208.

General/specific statute rule in criminal cases. — The goal of the general/specific statute rule in the context of criminal law is to determine whether the legislature intends to punish particular criminal conduct under a specific statute instead of a general statute. Because this goal mirrors the purpose of the rule in general, there is no need to undertake a separate, duplicative inquiry under the label of preemption to determine whether the special criminal statute operates as an exception to the general criminal statute. As between two criminal statutes, the "exception" that is the relevant focus of the general/specific statute rule is a legislative intent that particular criminal conduct be prosecuted under one statute instead of another. State v. Santillanes, 2001-NMSC-018, 130 N.M. 464, 27 P.3d 456.

Conflicts between general and specific statutes are resolved by giving effect to specific statute. Lopez ex rel. Lopez v. Barreras, 1966-NMSC-209, 77 N.M. 52, 419 P.2d 251.

Specific statute superseding general statute considered exception to general statute. — A statute enacted for the primary purpose of dealing with a particular subject prescribing terms and conditions covering the subject matter supersedes a general statute which does not refer to that subject although broad enough to cover it as the specific statute is considered an exception to or qualification of the general statute. Lopez ex rel. Lopez v. Barreras, 1966-NMSC-209, 77 N.M. 52, 419 P.2d 251.

General provision relates to same subject specific controls. — It is well settled that a general provision is controlled by one that is special, the later being treated as an exception to the former. A specific provision relating to a particular subject will govern in respect to that subject as against a general provision although the later standing alone would be broad enough to include the subject to which the more particular provision relates. Cromer v. J.W. Jones Constr. Co., 1968-NMCA-027, 79 N.M. 179, 441 P.2d 219; overruled on other grounds bySchiller v. Southwest Air Rangers, Inc., 1975-NMSC-018, 87 N.M. 476, 535 P.2d 1327.

III. REPEAL BY IMPLICATION.

Without repealing clause prior statute not abrogated unless inconsistency exists. — In absence of repealing clause expressly designating the prior enactment intended to be abrogated, no new statute will be allowed to sweep away existing legislation unless its terms are such that the new and the old cannot stand together consistently. Wilburn v. Territory, 1900-NMSC-028, 10 N.M. 402, 62 P. 968.

General words of repeal add nothing to effect of repealing clause. — Use, in repealing clause, of words "all acts and parts of acts in conflict herewith" adds nothing to the repealing effect of later legislation and repeals nothing which would not be repealed by implication without those words. Territory ex rel. City of Albuquerque v. Matson, 1911-NMSC-016, 16 N.M. 135, 113 P. 816.

Repeals by implication are not favored, and will not be held to exist where any other reasonable construction can be placed upon two statutes. State v. Davisson, 1923-NMSC-045, 28 N.M. 653, 217 P. 240, error dismissed, 267 U.S. 574, 45 S. Ct. 229, 69 L. Ed. 795 (1925).

Repeals by implication are not to be favored; statutes should be construed together where the objects to be obtained by each can be preserved. Territory ex rel. White v. Riggle, 1911-NMSC-074, 16 N.M. 713, 120 P. 318.

Even in absence of repealing clause prior repugnant statute impliedly repealed. — Where later of two statutes having same object and relating to same subject is repugnant to earlier statute, earlier statute is impliedly repealed to extent of repugnancy, even in absence of a repealing clause. Baca v. Board of County Comm'rs, 1900-NMSC-031, 10 N.M. 438, 62 P. 979.

When wholly irreconcilable prior statute repealed by later. — A statute may be repealed without being referred to by a subsequent statute on the same subject, when the last statute is wholly irreconcilable with the former and both cannot stand together. Nye v. Board of Comm'rs, 1932-NMSC-009, 36 N.M. 169, 9 P.2d 1023; Sandoval v. Board of County Comm'rs, 1906-NMSC-028, 13 N.M. 537, 86 P. 427; Geck v. Shepherd, 1859-NMSC-010, 1 N.M. 346.

Statute repealed by implication when such intent is manifest. — A statute is repealed by implication, though such repeal is not favored, where the legislative intent that later statute supersede former is manifest; such intent is manifest where the legislature enacts a new and comprehensive body of law which is so inconsistent with and repugnant to the former law on the same subject as to be irreconcilable with it; especially does this result follow where later act expressly notices the former in such a way as to indicate an intention to abrogate. Ellis v. New Mexico Constr. Co., 1921-NMSC-068, 27 N.M. 312, 201 P. 487.

When later statute is broad and comprehensive implied repeal results. — Though repeals by implication are not favored, yet courts declare them in cases where the last statute is so broad in its terms and so clear and explicit in its words as to show it was intended to cover the whole subject, and, therefore, to displace the prior statute. Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. v. Town of Silver City, 1936-NMSC-036, 40 N.M. 305, 59 P.2d 351; State ex rel. County Comm'rs v. Romero, 1914-NMSC-023, 19 N.M. 1, 140 P. 1069.

No implied repeal unless new act is clearly repugnant or comprehensive. — If there is no express reference to existing statute or apparent intention to repeal the same, it is to be concluded that the legislature did not intend to abrogate the former law relating to the same matter, unless the later act is clearly repugnant to the prior one, or completely covers and embraces the subject-matter thereof, or unless the reason for the prior act is removed. Smith v. City of Raton, 1914-NMSC-017, 18 N.M. 613, 140 P. 109.

Earlier law repealed by implication when irreconcilable with later law. — Repeal by implication is not favored, but an earlier law is necessarily repealed by implication when it is absolutely irreconcilable with a later law. Territory v. Digneo, 1909-NMSC-018, 15 N.M. 157, 103 P. 975.

Repealed by implication only to extent statutes are incompatible. — Later statute repeals earlier statute by implication only to extent that statutes are incompatible. State v. Fidelity & Deposit Co., 1932-NMSC-022, 36 N.M. 166, 9 P.2d 700.

General statute not regarded as repealing particular or limited statute. — A general statute will not be regarded as repealing by implication a statute dealing with a particular matter and of limited scope. Waltom v. City of Portales, 1938-NMSC-022, 42 N.M. 433, 81 P.2d 58.

Repeal is necessary to give later general statute effect. — A subsequent statute treating a subject in general terms will not be held to repeal by implication an earlier statute treating the same subject specifically, unless such construction is absolutely necessary in order to give the subsequent statute effect. State ex rel. Armijo v. Romero, 1927-NMSC-008, 32 N.M. 178, 253 P. 20.

Unless subsequent general statute positively repugnant to specific. — General statute will not impliedly repeal prior local law or special statute or charter unless there is such a positive repugnance between the two that both cannot stand together or be consistently reconciled. Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. v. Town of Silver City, 1936-NMSC-036, 40 N.M. 305, 59 P.2d 351.

Specific statutes control general regardless of priority of enactment. — The rule that a statute relating to a specific subject controls a general statute which includes the specific subject in the generality of its terms is not dependent upon the time of the enactment of such statutes. It prevails without regard to priority of enactment. 1962 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 62-13.

To extent of irreconcilability special or specific provision controls general. — As a general rule general or broad statutory provisions do not control, modify, limit, affect or interfere with special or specific provisions. To the contrary, to the extent of any irreconcilable conflict, the special or specific provision modifies, qualifies, limits, restricts, excludes, supersedes, controls and prevails over the general or broad provisions. 1962 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 62-13.

Strong showing of intent required to create exception to general rule. — In the face of two important canons of statutory construction (presumption against repeal by implication and rule that special act controls over general act to extent of any conflict), it takes a strong showing of legislative intention to create an exception to the general rule. 1962 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 62-13.

If repugnant, former repealed to extent of repugnancy. — Although repeals by implication are not favored where two statutes have the same object and relate to the same subject, if the later is repugnant to the former, the former is repealed by implication to the extent of the repugnancy in the absence of a repealing clause in the later act. 1961 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 61-16.

When two statutes cannot be construed together last enacted survives. — Where two statutes cannot be construed so as to give effect to each without contradiction or repugnancy or absurdity or unreasonableness, the last enacted will survive. 1959 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 59-192.

If possible, unless conflict irreconcilable, court will keep both laws operative. — Repeal of statute by implication will not be indulged unless the later act is so repugnant to the earlier as to render the repugnancy or conflict between them irreconcilable, and a court will if possible adopt that conclusion which under the particular circumstances will permit both laws to be operative. 1959 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 59-192.

Specific enactment governs general when enacted at same legislature. — In the event of a conflict between two or more enactments of the same legislature, the special and not the general enactment will govern. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 57-184.

Former repugnant act repealed even in absence of repealing clause. — The doctrine that repeals by implication is not favored is firmly imbedded in law, but we are equally committed to the rule that where two statutes have the same object and relate to the same subject, if the later act is repugnant to the former, the former is repealed by implication to the extent of the repugnancy, even in the absence of the repealing clause in the later act. 1958 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 58-116.

When two statutes passed at same session are irreconcilable, later prevails. — The principle that repeals by implication are not favored needs no citation of authority. This principle is specially applicable as between two statutes passed at the same session of the legislature. However, if the enactments are irreconcilable, the one which is the later expression of the legislative intent ordinarily prevails over and impliedly repeals the other enactment. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 57-184.

Statute which is last in order of time or local position prevails over that which is first. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 57-184.

Well settled proposition that two statutes be construed together. — Repeals by implication are not favored, and wherever possible, two statutes will be construed together so that the objects to be attained by each will be preserved, if no contradiction, repugnancy, absurdity or unreasonableness will result. This proposition is well settled in New Mexico. 1958 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 58-241.

Contradictory statutes. — If two statutes appear in contradictory position, such interpretation as will reconcile the seeming contradiction will be favored. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 57-298.

Interpretation reconciling seemingly contradictory provisions is favored. — If two constitutional or statutory provisions are in seeming contradiction, if some interpretation can be drawn as will leave both provisions operative, such interpretation will be favored. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 57-204.

If statutes are cumulative or reconcilable all are given effect. — One or two affirmative statutes on the same subject matter does not repeal the other if both can stand, as where they are cumulative. The court will, if possible, give effect to all statutes covering, in whole or in part, the same subject matter where they are not absolutely irreconcilable and no purpose of repeal is clearly shown or indicated. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 57-95.

Insofar as conflict is concerned last enacted repeals first. — Wherever there is an irreconcilable conflict in two enactments of the legislature, the last in point of time will be deemed to have repealed the first enactment insofar as the conflict is concerned. 1956 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 56-6359.

General/specific rule applies when construing parts of same act. — In construing several parts of the same act together, it is the generally accepted rule that a specific power or provision governs where a general power or provision in the same act can be construed to cover the same area. 1955 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 55-6326.

General/specific rule does not apply where legislature intended otherwise. — Where general provisions, terms or expressions in one part of a statute are inconsistent with more specific or particular provisions in another part, the particular provisions must govern or control as a clearer and more definite expression of the legislative will, unless the statute as a whole clearly shows a legislative intention to the contrary, or some other canon of statutory construction compels a contrary conclusion. 1955 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 55-6259.

Inconsistent statutes passed by same session of legislature. — Where two statutes are inconsistent and are passed by the same session of the legislature and both become effective at the same time, the supreme court has held that the law being last in place, position or sequence will govern and repeal by implication the earlier statute. 1955 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 55-6076.

Presumption that all laws consistent. — It is a maxim of statutory construction that an interpretation of a statute which creates an inconsistency should be avoided, and since all laws are presumed to be consistent with each other, every effort should be made to harmonize and reconcile them. 1953 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 53-5635.

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