Court upholds health order fines for New Mexico businesses

New Mexico

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gives her weekly update on COVID-19 and the state’s effort to contain it during a virtual news conference from the state Capitol in Santa Fe, N.M., on Thursday, July 23, 2020. (Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has upheld the governor’s authority to fine businesses as much as $5,000 a day for violations of emergency health orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The court heard arguments from businesses claiming the administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham overstepped its authority in response to the pandemic.

The ruling was unanimous in the governor’s favor. Chief Justice Michael Vigil says the Legislature clearly gave the governor authority to apply administrative fines higher than the $100 citations the businesses claimed was the maximum allowed.

The state has fined 16 businesses up to $5,000 a day.

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