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High court weighs compensation for business restrictions
AP

High court weighs compensation for business restrictions

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High court weighs compensation for business restrictions

FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2020, file photo provided by the New Mexico Office of the Governor, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs a $330 million economic relief package aimed at helping small businesses and out-of-work New Mexicans while at the State Capitol in Santa Fe, N.M. From lockdowns in tribal communities to the economic and social fallout that has reverberated throughout New Mexico, the coronavirus pandemic dominated headlines in 2020. New Mexico had among the toughest public health restriction in the nation early on as Grisham called for the closure of gyms, salons and other businesses deemed nonessential. Public gatherings were banned, sports were cancelled, curbside became the norm, funerals were frowned upon and schools were forced to go virtual.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments as it weighs whether the state must compensate businesses for losses due to temporary closures and other pandemic-related restrictions.

Oral arguments were scheduled for Wednesday afternoon before the five-member court.

A coalition of businesses says pandemic restrictions have effectively seized private property from businesses that might otherwise have taken their own precautions against the spread of COVID-19. Their lawsuit characterizes the state’s public health emergency orders as regulatory taking that merits compensation to businesses.

Attorneys representing the governor’s office and state Health Department say that enforcement of public health orders derives from a long-standing principle that property rights contain an inherent limitation not to use property in a manner that endangers others.

Several businesses that sued the state for compensation separately have been provided with grants and forgivable loans by the state and federal authorities in efforts to prop up employment and the economy.

The Supreme Court case is likely to decide the fate of more than a dozen lawsuits by businesses running the gamut from a family owned amusement park in Albuquerque to an an auction house in rural Portales.

State legislators are considering proposals for further economic relief to ailing small businesses and low-wage workers that have labored through the pandemic. A 60-day legislative session is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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