April 10, 2015

Martinez vetoes beer and wine delivery bill

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Photo Credit: Didriks cc

Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a Senate bill that would have allowed for home deliveries of beer and wine.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, would have allowed deliveries of two six packs of beer and two bottles of wine with certain food orders.

Photo Credit: Didriks cc

Photo Credit: Didriks cc

In an executive message announcing the veto, Martinez raised concerns that the bill would facilitate dangerous drinking by minors by allowing large quantities of beer and wine to be delivered with food orders.

This could facilitate underage and binge drinking at social gatherings. Additionally, there is no existing law enforcement oversight to ensure that deliveries are not made to intoxicated persons and minors at their residences.

She added that while the bill did have language specifying allowed hours of delivery, it did not specify whether the times are for when the orders are placed or when the deliveries are made.

Senate Bill 503 also lacks clearly delineated hours after which deliveries of alcohol would be forbidden. Though Senate Bill 503 specifies that beer and wine sales would have to conclude at 9:00 PM on Sundays and at 10:00 PM during the rest of the week, beer and wine deliveries could still be made after those hours.

A similar concern was raised by the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department in the bill’s Fiscal Impact Report.

The legal hours for delivery of alcohol are unclear. It is not clear whether the bill would allow delivery of alcohol orders that were placed prior to 10:00 PM or 9:00 PM on Sundays, but actual delivery is made after 10:00 PM or after 9:00 PM on Sundays or if orders must be place at least half an hour prior to cessation to allow for delivery time.

The report added that the bill states the Alcohol and Gaming Division would be able to enact rules to clarify delivery cut-off times.

Still, Martinez said she was would not sign the bill due to what she saw as significant problems.

Without proper public safety safeguards, consensus from stakeholders, and well-written legislation, creating a new Beer and Wine Delivery License would be unwise. For these reasons, I cannot sign Senate Bill 503.

Ortiz y Pino told New Mexico Political Report he thought Martinez was more concerned with a Democratic sponsor and less with the bill itself.

“It was a simple thing that was going to make restaurant businesses and hotel occupants benefit and now it won’t benefit [them],” Ortiz y Pino said. “I have to believe it has to do more with her discomfort at a bill that was sponsored by a Democrat than by a bill that has some problems in it.”

Ortiz y Pino said many concerns were raised and answered during the session.

Rep. Jim Smith, R-Sandia Park, was a cosponsor of the bill.

He also said he had high hopes when he saw that other bills that make changes to alcohol sales were signed by Martinez.

“It’s just incomprehensible to me that she would veto that bill,” he said.

Martinez signed a bill, sponsored by Rep. Dona Irwin, D-Deming, that would allow for internet wine sales.

New Mexico Political Report made several attempts to contact the governor’s office, but they could not be reached for a comment.

The executive message is below.

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