Order Code RS21792
March 31, 2004
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
New Mexico Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Authorities Summarized
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division
New Mexico statutes provide for the continuity of government through the
designation of state and local government lines of succession and the relocation of the
state capital should the need arise. The statutes also provide for hazardous material
incident management. The governor, through the Emergency Planning and
Coordination Bureau, plans and prepares for emergencies and is authorized to coordinate
activities with the federal government and with other states. Appropriations for disaster
relief occur each time the governor issues an emergency declaration.
This report is one of a series that profiles emergency management and homeland
security statutory authorities of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each profile identifies the more
significant elements of state statutes, generally as codified. Congressional readers may
wish to conduct further searches for related provisions using the Internet link presented
in the last section of this report. The National Conference of State Legislatures provided
primary research assistance in the development of these profiles under contract to the
Congressional Research Service (CRS). Summary information on all of the profiles is
presented in CRS Report RL32287. This report will be updated as developments
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Governor: The governor is directed to carry out the Civil Emergency Preparedness
Act, specifically to: cooperate with the federal government and with other states on issues
related to emergency preparedness; issue, amend, or rescind orders, procedures, and
regulations to carry out emergency preparedness; enter into mutual aid agreements with
other states; coordinate mutual aid agreements between local governments; prepare a
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comprehensive plan and program for emergency preparedness and integrate the plan with
the federal government and other states; coordinate the preparation of plans and programs
by local governments; procure supplies and equipment; and institute a training program
(N.M. Stat. Ann. §12-10-4). The governor is also authorized to call out the militia during
a manmade or natural emergency (N.M. Stat. Ann. §20-2-3).
Governor’s office of policy and planning: The governor’s office is to consider
emergency preparedness needs in conjunction with the Office of Military Affairs and must
provide staff to coordinate needs (N.M. Stat. Ann. §9-14-3 H).
Emergency Planning and Coordination Bureau: The bureau, established within the
Department of Public Safety, is responsible for civil emergency preparedness. The chief
of the bureau directs and coordinates the activities of all state departments, agencies, and
political subdivisions, and serves as the liaison with other states and federal emergency
agencies (N.M. Stat. Ann. §12-10-3).
Emergency Management Task Force: The task force is authorized to plan for
assessing the scope and nature of hazardous materials incidents; establish procedures for
assembling an emergency management team and a command post; developing training;
identifying medical resources; and serving as liaison with the trucking and railroad
industries, as well as other private sector entities (N.M. Stat. Ann. §74-4B-6).
Local governments: Units of local government are responsible for emergency
preparedness in their jurisdictions and are authorized to establish local offices of
emergency preparedness. Officials are authorized to make appropriations to pay for
emergency preparedness (N.M. Stat. Ann. §12-10-5, 12-10-7). Local governments and
emergency preparedness officers have the duty to comply with and enforce all executive
orders and regulations made by the governor and to meet state and federal requirements
(N.M. Stat. Ann. §12-10-10).
Militia: The militia may provide lodging, health care, food, and transportation to
protect public health, safety and welfare during an emergency (N.M. Stat. Ann. §20-2-3
Youth Conservation Corps: Members of the corps are authorized to assist in
emergency operations, including fires, floods, and the rescue of lost or injured persons
(N.M. Stat. Ann. §9-5B-1 et seq., 5B-4.D).
Information Management Technology Commission: The commission provides
oversight of agencies’ plans for risk management and disaster recovery practices (N.M.
Stat. Ann. §15-1C-7 B (7)).
Secretary of Public Safety: The secretary, along with other officials and specified
entities, administers the Emergency Management Act regarding hazardous materials
incidents (N.M. Stat. Ann. §74-4B-4 to 8).
State Emergency Response Commission: The commission exercises authority for
hazardous materials incidents (N.M. Stat. Ann. §74-4B-3).
The Civil Emergency Preparedness Act created the emergency planning and
coordination bureau within the Department of Public Safety. The statute gives the
governor and governing bodies emergency preparedness powers; provides for the
preparation of a civil emergency preparedness plan for acts of war, sabotage, or natural
disasters; authorizes the rendering of aid in the emergency restoration of facilities,
utilities, other essential installations; and authorizes the provision of assistance to disaster
victims and the use of services, equipment, supplies, facilities of other state departments,
offices, and agencies (N.M. Stat. Ann. §12-10-1 et seq.).
The statute calls for formulation of a comprehensive hazardous materials emergency
management plan (N.M. Stat. Ann. §74-4B-2).
The state is authorized to make emergency procurements during emergency
conditions and is to use competitive procedures as deemed practical. This authority does
not include the purchase or lease of heavy road equipment (N.M. Stat. Ann. §13-1-127).
The governor is authorized to declare a state of public health emergency after
consultation with the secretary of health (N.M. Stat. Ann. §12-10A-5).
Upon declaration of a disaster emergency, the governor must call a special session
of the legislature to remain in continuous session during the emergency. The legislature
may recess from time to time for no more than three days (N.M. Stat. Ann. Art. IV, §2).
The legislature declared a disaster in areas of the national forests that suffered severe
fire damage due to federal inaction, and called for the exercise of police power by the
state to end the disaster (N.M. Stat. Ann. 4-36-11).
Types of Assistance
State officials may accept federal assistance (services, equipment, supplies,
materials, funds) as gifts, grants or loans, and also may accept private assistance (N.M.
Stat. Ann. §12-10-7).
See also “Funding.”
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact is codified (N.M. Stat. Ann. §1115-1 et seq.).
Each political subdivision is authorized to enter into mutual aid agreements (N.M.
Stat. Ann. §12-10-6).
State officials may enter into agreements with the federal government, local
governments, Indian tribes, and states bordering New Mexico for the management of
hazardous material incidents (N.M. Stat. Ann. §74-4B-4).
Each time the governor declares an emergency, $750,000 is appropriated (or a
different amount, as is available from unappropriated surplus money) as emergency funds.
The money is to be used for disaster relief for any disaster declared by governor that is
beyond local control and requires state resources. Funds may be spent on state projects
(resources and services to avoid or minimize economic or physical harm until the
situation is stabilized and can be returned to local self support and control) or to secure
matching federal funds. Examples of state projects include lodging, food, health care, and
transportation (N.M. Stat. Ann. §6-7-1 et seq.).
Pursuant to the finding that the U.S. Forest Service has failed to address the risk of
forest fires, local boards of commissioners are authorized to thin undergrowth and remove
fire-damaged trees within a disaster area (N.M. Stat. Ann. §4-36-11).
Continuity of Government Operations
Disaster Succession Act: The statute provides that should the state be under enemy
attack and a large number of state, local executive, or judicial officers are unable to serve,
a procedure is established to ensure the naming of temporary officers to fill vacancies.
Successors (in order) for governor include the attorney general, state auditor,
commissioner of public lands and state treasurer. The governor is authorized to designate
three disaster successors for each state executive office and the order of succession. Local
government officers must designate three successors. The governor is to designate three
potential successors for supreme and district court judges (N.M. Stat. Ann. §12-11-1 et
Legislative Disaster Succession Act: The statute provides that each county
commission must designate five successors for legislators, provides for the order of
succession, and authorizes the commissions to change designations at will. One-third of
the members constitute a quorum requirement during a disaster emergency. An
exemption is provided from constitutional requirements during an emergency, and
successors serve throughout the span of an emergency (N.M. Stat. Ann. §12-11-11 et
If an emergency does not allow the state government to conduct business in Santa
Fe, the governor may declare a temporary disaster location for state government inside or
outside of the state. The governor is to issue orders for the orderly transition of affairs.
The legislature can establish a new location or declare the disaster over and return the
government to Santa Fe (N.M. Stat. Ann. §12-11-21).
Local governments are authorized to meet at any place at the call of the presiding
officer or two or more members of the governing body. The alternative location is to be
designated by ordinance. When the legislature declares that a disaster is over, the seat
returns to its normal location (N.M. Stat. Ann. §12-11-22).
The types of public records exempt from the public inspection allowance include
state or local tactical response plans or procedures that may reveal vulnerabilities that
could facilitate a terrorist attack (N.M. Stat. Ann. §14-2-1)
Person providing shelter during an enemy attack or disaster are not liable for injury
or death of persons or losses or damages to a person’s property. The shelter must have
been approved by emergency preparedness authorities prior to its use (N.M. Stat. Ann.
A homeowner’s casualty insurance policy shall not be canceled or denied renewal
due to a damage claim for a private residence as a result of a natural disaster (N.M. Stat.
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in New Mexico Statutes, with Citations
N.M. Stat. Ann. §§12-11-3 A.; 12-11-13 A.;
N.M. Stat. Ann. §§12-11-3 B.; 12-11-13 B.;
N.M. Stat. Ann. Art. 4 §2
N.M. Stat. Ann. §§12/11-3 E; 12-11-13 D.
N.M. Stat. Ann. §74-4B-3 G.
N.M. Stat. Ann. §74-4B-3 H.
N.M. Stat. Ann. §6-7-3
N.M. Stat. Ann. §§12-11-3 C.; 12-11-13 C.
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for New Mexico may be
searched at: [http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates&fn=