New Mexico legislators are working on a bill that would remove the legal exclusion of farm and ranch laborers from the state’s workers’ compensation laws.
In New Mexico, all employers of three or more workers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. The state’s Workers’ Compensation Act currently contains language that excludes farm and ranch workers from that requirement despite an earlier court case that effectively reversed the exclusion.
In 2016, the New Mexico Supreme Court found in Rodriguez v. Brand West Dairy that the statutory exclusion of farm and ranch workers from the Workers’ Compensation Act was arbitrary, capricious, and unconstitutional.
This bill would finally remove that unconstitutional exclusion to comply with current case law.
Keeping the exclusion “risks confusion on the status of New Mexico law on the requirement of workers’ compensation insurance regarding farm and ranch laborers,” according to the bill’s sponsors.
HB 330 would go into effect June 16, 2023, if signed into law.