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House passes liquor license bill


A bill to provide more liquor licenses and allow for the home delivery of alcohol passed on a 41-27 vote Tuesday, Feb.23, in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

There is already a law in place that allows restaurants within a special option district to serve beer and wine with meals. This bill would also allow them to serve mixed drinks, and would allow for the delivery of alcohol along with a food order. And, it includes a 2 percent consumer excise tax on drink sales.

The state’s quota system on liquor licenses has driven their price up to more than $1 million in some cases. Current license holders said this bill would devalue their licenses, which were often used as collateral on their businesses.

The bill includes a $200,000 tax deduction and waives all future annual renewal fees for current license holders.

“Frankly, this bill has been needed for quite some time, but it never has been more necessary than it is today amid this pandemic,” sponsor Rep. Moe Maestas, D-Albuquerque, said in a prepared statement. “Food and drink delivery is part of modern life and vibrant restaurants are essential to New Mexico’s communities and tourism.”

Gone Fishing

A bill to allow veterans and Gold Star families free one-day admittance into all state parks passed unanimously Tuesday in the House.

House Bill 260 would provide a one-day pass for unlimited entry into state parks or recreation areas operated by the state and Gold Star families who live in New Mexico and other occupants in their non-commercial vehicle.

Sponsor Rep. Joshua Hernandez, R-Rio Rancho, said in future years he would seek to expand the pass to include overnight camping.

Walter Rubel can be reached at waltrubel@gmail.com.