New Mexico Legislature Approves Liquor License Expansion, Alcohol Deliveries With Food
Santa Fe, N.M. – Legislation allowing alcohol delivery and opening new revenue streams for New Mexico’s hard-hit restaurant and hospitality industry is now on its way to the Governor’s desk, after the House concurred today on amendments made by the Senate. Here is a statement from the NM House Democrats:
House Bill 255 allows for home delivery of alcohol, creates a new class of restaurant liquor licenses, expands alcohol tastings, and offers a $200,000 tax deduction and fee waivers to protect the investments of existing liquor license holders. The bill holds bipartisan sponsorship from Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque), Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Rod Montoya (R-Farmington), Rep. Joshua Hernandez (R-Rio Rancho), Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque).
“This has been a heavy and collaborative lift for all involved in getting this epic legislation to the Governor’s desk,” said Rep. Maestas. “With the passage of this bill, we’re about to open up urgently-needed business ventures for local New Mexicans and create opportunities for innovation in communities all across the state.”
“The changes the bill makes to our state’s badly outdated liquor laws are sorely needed,” said Rep. Hochman-Vigil. “Even before this pandemic, it was clear our current laws were hindering growth and stifling new businesses ideas that the pandemic only made worse. I believe the amendments made to this bill take into account the needs of New Mexicans, and I am proud of the bipartisan effort that has passed this legislation through both chambers.”
“Alcohol delivery is something consumers have come to expect in many places around the country. It has the potential to reduce driving under the influence and provides an important revenue stream for our struggling businesses,” said Rep. Martínez. “House Bill 255 also allows our growing craft brewing, distilling, and winemaking industries to collaborate and support one another’s entrepreneurship in our state.”
Among the amendments made in the Senate were: banning the sale of miniature bottles of liquor (less than 3 oz.) for off-site consumption, removing the 2% tax on consumer excise tax on individual drink sales, clarifying that ID checks are mandatory at time of alcohol delivery, prohibiting wine and spirit sales at gas stations in McKinley County, which has a long history of high numbers of alcohol-related deaths, and enacting a study to be conducted by DOH on the effects of alcohol deliveries in New Mexico.
Alcohol deliveries from restaurants must include at least $10 of food delivery, and may only contain up to 750 ml of wine, six 12 oz. containers of prepackaged beer, wine, cider or spirituous liquors, or one locally produced growler. Delivery permits can only be issued to valid retailers, dispensers, craft distillers, winegrowers, small brewers, restaurant licensees. For facilities with retail space greater than 10,000 sq. ft. in class A counties, they can only deliver beer and wine.
Recognizing the investment of existing liquor license holders, HB 255 provides a $200,000 tax deduction and waives annual renewal fees for 5 years.
In a voice vote, the House concurred with the Senate amendments to HB 255. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk.
Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.