HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
Amidst an ongoing pandemic that has hit New Mexico’s restaurants and hospitality industry especially hard, legislation allowing alcohol delivery and opening new revenue streams, passed the House today with bipartisan support.
With bipartisan sponsorship from Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Rod Montoya (R-Farmington), and Rep. Joshua Hernandez (R-Rio Rancho), House Bill 255 allows for home delivery of alcohol, modifies the restaurant liquor licenses to now include spirits but require closure by 10 p.m., expands alcohol tastings, and offers a $200,000 tax deduction and fee waivers to protect the investments of existing liquor license holders.
“There is tremendous stress in our economy right now. Frankly, this bill has been needed for quite some time, but it has never been more necessary than it is today amid this pandemic,” said Rep. Maestas. “Food and drink delivery is part of modern life and vibrant restaurants are essential to New Mexico’s communities and tourism. With this bill, restaurants will have a new revenue stream, existing liquor license holders will remain secure in their investments, and communities can breathe new life into their Main Streets.”
“This bill has been over 40 years in the making. It brings New Mexico into the 21st century for alcohol licensure and regulation,” said Rep. Hochman-Vigil “I’m proud of the bipartisan effort that has brought together stakeholders, members of the public, and state agencies to craft a bill that is equitable and provides relief for some of our hardest-hit businesses. We are looking to uplift the food and hospitality industry in our state and open opportunities during and after this pandemic.”
Alcohol deliveries must include at least $10 of food delivery, and may only contain up to 750 ml of wine, six 12 oz. containers of beer, wine or spirits, or one locally produced growler. Delivery permits can only be issued to valid dispensers, craft distillers, winegrowers, small brewers, restaurant licensees, and retailers, and for the latter two, only for facilities less than 10,000 sq. ft.
Recognizing the investment of existing liquor license holders, HB 255 also provides a $200,000 tax deduction and waives all future annual renewal fees for current inter-local dispensary license holders. License holders can continue to sell, transfer, or lease their licenses as they please. HB 255 also adds a 2% consumer excise tax to individual drink sales that will be collected into the general fund, providing more resources to help cover the deductions provided to current license holders and increase funds for DWI reduction and substance abuse programs.
House Bill 255 passed the House with a bipartisan 41-27 vote and will now go to the Senate.
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.