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KSJD Local Newscast - April 2, 2024

A bill that would implement a fee on alcohol manufacturers and wholesalers in Colorado prompted a lengthy discussion among Montezuma County commissioners and health officials Tuesday. Senate Bill 24-181 is set for a hearing before a legislative committee next week. Montezuma County Public Health Director Bobbi Lock told the commissioners she was invited to give brief comments during the hearing about alcohol’s impacts locally. The bill would create the Colorado alcohol impact and recovery enterprise, which would collect a fee on major alcohol distributors and use the funds for alcohol and related substance-use intervention and treatment programs statewide. Commissioner Jim Candelaria said it seems contradictory for the legislature to consider this bill while it is also thinking about passing one that would make permanent a measure that temporarily allowed alcohol delivery and takeout at licensed establishments. The commissioners agreed alcohol has major health impacts locally, but questioned how much the county would receive of the estimated $100 million the fee would raise in the first five years. Ultimately, Lock said she would decline the chance to testify. However, medical director Dr. Amanda Mullen might speak before the committee instead of Lock.

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Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.