In addition to the 7 specific exceptions to IPRA enumerated in the Act, a final exception uses the catchall phrase “As otherwise provided by law.” This has been interpreted to refer to the New Mexico Statutes, the New Mexico Constitution, the Supreme Court Rules of Evidence, the Supreme Court Rules Governing Discipline of Lawyers and Federal law.
The Attorney General’s Compliance Guide to the Inspection of Public Records refers to a number of statutes relating to the confidentiality of certain public records. While some establish the confidentiality of records, others simply provide that certain records may be disclosed only in a limited way. Some examples include tax returns, preliminary audit reports, certain financial information, adoption records, certain information in vital records, drivers’ personal information, etc. AG IPRA Guide pps. 15-21
Under a 2012 New Mexico Supreme Court decision, New Mexico no longer recognizes a “rule of reason” exception to the right to inspect public records. The Court made it clear that a public body may withhold a public record only if it is based on a (1) specific exception contained within the Act, (2) a statutory or regulatory exception, (3) a rule adopted by the New Mexico Supreme Court or (4) a privilege protecting a record from disclosure that is grounded in the U.S. or state constitution. Courts no longer can consider whether there is a countervailing public policy against disclosure. Republican Party of New Mexico v. New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, 2012-NMSC-026, 283 P. 3d 853.