Alcohol sales shouldn’t be limited by state

N ew Mexico fancies itself a business-friendly state. But it doesn't always act like one.

A state senator is trying to improve our image and return a business decision to the only one risking anything — the business owner.

Senate Bill 154 would allow Sunday alcohol sales to commence at 10 a.m. rather than the noon serving time allowed by current state law.

"This is a good business bill," said state Sen. John Ryan, R-Albuquerque, its sponsor. "We have a lot of tourists from all over the world who come here expecting to have champagne with their Sunday brunch only to find alcoholic beverages can't be served until noon."

Owners of sports bars may also welcome the option as they could serve beer at kickoff instead of waiting until the football games are half over.

"This bill will help increase business on Sunday mornings by allowing liquor to be served at a reasonable time. More business and employment could be the result," Ryan said.

The state needs to recognize the economic realities of giving people more options when they come here.

And no, this is not encouraging drunkenness and obnoxious behavior. Those idiots are not usually in sports bars and restaurants where responsible owners limit their consumption.

SB 154 seeks to put New Mexico on the same footing as neighboring states that provide many of the same attractions that bring out-of-staters to the Land of Enchantment.

Our only issue with Ryan's bill is it's too timid.

The state ought to get completely out of the way of business owners' ability to do business.

No one in their right mind suggests one should abuse alcohol, but prohibition never works.

Just as anti-smoking laws interfere with business owners' rights to run their own affairs, regulating when vendors can sell alcoholic beverages intrudes on their ability to improve their business performance.

It's reasonable to serve alcoholic beverages to responsible people at reasonable hours. Tapping beer kegs at the crack of dawn may be unreasonable to rational people. Then again, no law can stop individuals from acting stupidly, such as swilling rot-gut with their scrambled eggs and toast in their kitchens.

SB 154 is a good step in the right direction for New Mexico. But lawmakers shouldn't stop there. Business owners deserve the chance to decide for themselves the best time to serve adult beverages.

It's not the state's business.

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Clovis Media Inc. editorial board, which includes Publisher Ray Sullivan and Editor David Stevens.

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