HOUSE BILL 96
55th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2021
Andrea Romero and Mark Moores
RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT; REVISING THE LIST OF CRIMINAL RECORDS THAT CANNOT BE CONSIDERED IN AN APPLICATION FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT, LICENSURE OR OTHER AUTHORITY TO PRACTICE A TRADE, BUSINESS OR PROFESSION; ENACTING A NEW SECTION OF THE UNIFORM LICENSING ACT TO PROHIBIT THE EXCLUSION FROM PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE OF PERSONS WITH CERTAIN CRIMINAL RECORDS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 28-2-3 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1974, Chapter 78, Section 3, as amended) is amended to read:
"28-2-3. EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION.--
A. Subject to the provisions of Subsection B of this section and Sections 28-2-4 and 28-2-5 NMSA 1978, in determining eligibility for employment with the state or any of its political subdivisions or for a license, permit, certificate or other authority to engage in any regulated trade, business or profession, the board or other department or agency having jurisdiction may take into consideration a conviction, but the conviction shall not operate as an automatic bar to obtaining public employment or license or other authority to practice the trade, business or profession. A board, department or agency of the state or any of its political subdivisions shall not make an inquiry regarding a conviction on an initial application for employment and shall only take into consideration a conviction after the applicant has been selected as a finalist for the position.
B. The following criminal records shall not be used, distributed or disseminated in connection with an application for any public employment, license or other authority:
(1) records of arrest not followed by a valid conviction; [and
(2) misdemeanor convictions not involving moral turpitude]
(2) convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, expunged or pardoned;
(3) juvenile adjudications; or
(4) convictions for a crime that is not recent enough and sufficiently job-related to be predictive of performance in the position sought, given the position's duties and responsibilities."
SECTION 2. Section 61-1-1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1957, Chapter 247, Section 1, as amended) is amended to read:
"61-1-1. SHORT TITLE.--[Sections 67-26-1 through 67-26-31 NMSA 1953] Chapter 61, Article 1 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the "Uniform Licensing Act"."
SECTION 3. A new section of the Uniform Licensing Act is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS--EXCLUSION FROM LICENSURE--DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT.--
A. A board shall not exclude from licensure an individual who is otherwise qualified on the sole basis that the individual has been previously arrested for or convicted of a crime, unless the individual has a disqualifying criminal conviction.
B. By December 31, 2021, a board shall promulgate and post on the board's website rules relating to licensing requirements to list the specific criminal convictions that could disqualify an applicant from receiving a license on the basis of a previous felony conviction. Rules relating to licensing requirements promulgated by a board shall not use the terms "moral turpitude" or "good character". A board shall only list disqualifying criminal convictions.
C. In any administrative hearing or agency appeal, a board shall carry the burden of proof on the question of whether the exclusion from professional licensure is based upon a disqualifying criminal conviction.
D. No later than October 31 of each year, while ensuring the confidentiality of individual applicants, a board shall make available to the public an annual report for the prior fiscal year containing the following information:
(1) the number of applicants for licensure and, of that number, the number granted a license;
(2) the number of applicants for licensure or license renewal with a potential disqualifying criminal conviction who received notice of potential disqualification;
(3) the number of applicants for licensure or license renewal with a potential disqualifying criminal conviction who provided a written justification with evidence of mitigation or rehabilitation; and
(4) the number of applicants for licensure or license renewal with a potential disqualifying criminal conviction who were granted a license, denied a license for any reason or denied a license because of a conviction.
E. As used in this section, "disqualifying criminal conviction" means a conviction for a crime that is recent enough and sufficiently job-related to be predictive of performance in the position sought, given the position's duties and responsibilities."
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2021.
- 5 -