Alcohol Delivery Bill Heads to House Floor
Provides new income streams and licensing options for NM’s struggling restaurant industry
Santa Fe, N.M. – Legislation to open new revenue streams for New Mexico’s food and hospitality industries will go to the House floor for a full vote after passing its final House committee today with a bipartisan 10-3 vote.
Sponsored by Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Rod Montoya (R-Farmington), and Rep. Joshua Hernandez (R-Rio Rancho), House Bill 255 allows home delivery of alcoholic beverages, creates a new category of restaurant liquor licenses that modifies beer and wine licenses to include spirits but requires closure at 11 p.m., and allows for cross-sales between New Mexico’s distilleries, breweries, and wineries.
“With the pain that COVID-19 has brought to our restaurant, hospitality, and food service industries, the legislature must find smart ways to support these businesses,” said Rep. Maestas. “Home delivery is part of the modern world. This legislation creates new and urgently-needed revenue streams for our businesses during the pandemic, and opens opportunities for our hospitality and tourism industries moving forward.”
“This legislation is 40 years in the making,” continued Rep. Maestas. “It represents a way to open opportunities to more business owners, especially in rural New Mexico, while recognizing the value and protecting the investments of existing license holders.”
“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.”
Recognizing the investment of existing liquor license holders, HB 255 also provides a $200,000 tax deduction and waives 5 years of annual license fees for all in this group. For those who purchased their licenses within the last 5 years, 10 years of annual fees are waived. HB 255 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 enforcement programs.
Since the bill’s last hearing, HB 255 has been amended to:
- Ensure that license holders can continue to sell or trade their licenses as needed.
- Provide a 10-year fee waiver for any business that has purchased a liquor license in the last five years and a 5-year fee waiver for all existing license holders.
- Add a historical carve-out for McKinley county, prohibiting the addition of new restaurant spirit licenses in the county.
- Allow airport clubs to open in New Mexico’s rural airports, beyond the Albuquerque Sunport.
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 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.
House Bill 255 passed the House Taxation and Revenue Committee with a bipartisan 10 – 3 vote and will now move to the House floor for a full vote.
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.