--2 IN SESSION: RLD may study liquor deliveries
         
Dec. 9, 2016
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IN SESSION: State might study liquor deliveries

Proposed measure calls for look at a wider revamp of state liquor laws

February 6, 2014, 5:30 pm
By Matthew Reichbach
What's another change to the state liquor laws?

Already, New Mexico's liquor laws are in many ways a tangled mess. Former SFR-staffer Zane Fischer called the State Liquor Control Act, "discombobulated, labyrinthine and disconnected from common sense."

The Regulation and Licensing Department itself knows that the Liquor Control Act isn't exactly easy to follow when you read it. In a Fiscal Impact Report from last year, RLD wrote, "The Liquor Control Act has had various amendments over the years, and the result is a code that is not straightforward or easy to read/navigate."

Last year alone the state changed a number of state liquor laws. Now you can get a drink at 11 am on Sundays at a bar while waiting for package liquor stores to begin selling drinks at noon. Microbreweries and small wineries received a tax break. Drive-thru liquor sales are a thing of the past. You can now bring home half-finished bottles of wine. That's the kind of piecemeal changes to the 30-year old law that happen in the legislature -- and continues to happen.

House Memorial 67 by Rep. Dona Irwin, D-Deming, asks the department to look at liquor deliveries along with food purchases, a service currently prohibited by state law. The memorial seeks information about at deliveries to "to homes, hotels and licensed bed and breakfasts."

On Thursday, the House Business and Industry Committee gave the memorial a do-pass.

In 2013, House Memorial 77 asked the department to look at overhauling New Mexico's byzantine liquor laws. A task force that was supposed to be done with that project by November 1 has held two meetings, according to expert witness Justin Green, and has another one scheduled in three weeks.

House Minority Leader Donald Bratton, R-Hobbs, did see some positives about the proposal.

"It might keep someone who has been drinking off the road who feels they have to go and resupply," Bratton says. He also noted that there could be other unintended consequences that could be detrimental.

Rep. Jim Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, outlined some problems that the RLD will need to look into.

"If you're going to buy alcohol in a retail store and sell it to a customer, you can't do that," Trujillo said, referring to current law.

These are the types of things that the study will be looking at. But if an interim committee likes the proposed changes, this memorial may lead to a bill as early as next session.

 

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