FARMINGTON – After “significant revisions” in the House and Senate, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a House bill Wednesday to help small businesses and restaurants create a new revenue stream by selling alcoholic beverages for home delivery.
The law goes into effect July 1.
Restaurants, retailers, craft distilleries, winegrowers and small brewers may apply for the alcohol delivery permit. According to a news release from the governor’s office, ID checks are required for all deliveries. Under the bill, HB 255, the state Department of Health will conduct a study about the effects of alcohol delivery in the state in the next several years.
The bill passed with bipartisan support and was sponsored by members of both parties: Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque; Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque; House Minority Whip Rod Montoya, R-Farmington; Rep. Joshua Hernandez, R-Rio Rancho; and Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil, D-Albuquerque.
The bill also will make liquor licenses more affordable and accessible, “while providing for a significant tax deduction among other protections for existing license holders in recognition of their investment,” a news release said.
“Like any bipartisan compromise, at the end of the day, most if not all will feel both that they got some of what they wanted and had to give some of what they didn’t,” Lujan Grisham said. “Ultimately, I side with those who argued that reform, after so many decades, is more than warranted, and that these reforms, in particular, will move us forward as a state – not only by providing an important new revenue stream for the restaurant and hospitality industry but by making this industry more accessible to more New Mexicans while including important safeguards.”
Jamie Church, president and CEO of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday she believes the new law will bring more small businesses such as restaurants, cafes and eateries to the area. Church also said the legislation will make the restaurant industry more competitive with neighboring cities such as Durango.
“The new legislation allowing for home delivery of certain alcoholic beverages – with some restrictions – puts us on equal footing with other states that currently allow for those services and helps to bring new revenue sources to the restaurant industry, which has been hit so hard over the last year,” Church said Thursday.
The bill also allows restaurants to serve alcohol before 11 p.m. Sundays and prohibits the sale of miniature bottles for off-site consumption.
The law prohibits wine and spirit sales at gas stations in McKinley County, per an amendment from Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, who spoke on the Senate floor about the “perils of alcoholism and exposure in his county.”
“I hope overall, the new legislation will be seen as a way to help grow our local economy and move us toward post-COVID recovery,” Church said. “I was encouraged to see that this was a bipartisan issue with support from both sides of the aisle.”