New Mexico residents are subject to New Mexico state and U.S. federal laws. Federal laws apply in New Mexico as they do across all 50 states. In addition to the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the U.S., federal laws include statutes that are periodically codified in the U.S. Code. Federal laws also include decisions by courts that interpret federal laws. Finally, federal laws include regulations issued by federal administrative agencies to implement federal laws. You can explore federal laws and related resources by visiting the federal law section of the Justia site.
The state of New Mexico also has its own state laws. New Mexico state laws include the New Mexico Constitution, laws passed by the New Mexico legislature and periodically codified in the New Mexico Statutes, and decisions by courts that interpret New Mexico laws.
Comprised of 24 articles, the New Mexico Constitution took effect in 1912 when New Mexico was admitted as a state. It does not permit statewide initiatives, unlike the constitutions of many Western states, but it allows for popular referendums. Article XIX provides the processes for amending the Constitution. An amendment proposed in the New Mexico State Legislature or by an independent commission generally will appear on a ballot if a majority of each chamber of the legislature votes in its favor. Amendments that restrict certain rights require approval by three-fourths of each chamber and three-fourths of voters, rather than a simple majority. A proposal for a constitutional convention will appear on a ballot if two-thirds of each chamber vote in its favor.
The New Mexico Statutes contain the laws passed by the New Mexico legislature. These laws and the provisions of the New Mexico Constitution are often interpreted by the New Mexico Supreme Court and the New Mexico Court of Appeals. The federal New Mexico District Court also issues decisions that may affect New Mexico residents. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals holds the authority to review decisions by the New Mexico District Court. Sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court may review a case that has been appealed from the Tenth Circuit or from the New Mexico Supreme Court.