This year, New Mexico enacted three significant laws restoring rights and opportunities to people with a criminal record, continuing a recent trend of major reforms in this area. The three measures involve adopting most of the provisions of the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act, authorizing automatic expungement for a broad range of marijuana offenses as part of legalization, and expanding existing law regulating public employment and licensure to prohibit consideration of many types of convictions. A fourth new law significantly limits burdens imposed by court debt. These developments follow 2019 reforms introducing expungement into the state’s legal system for the very first time—through a comprehensive system of petition-based relief for most types of criminal records—and adopting a private sector ban-the-box law.
For these 2019 reforms, New Mexico earned an “honorable mention” for a productive legislative season in our reintegration report card for that year. This year’s noteworthy follow-up measures, summarized below, make New Mexico a contender for CCRC’s “reintegration champion” award in 2021.