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Hassan signs bill replacing 3-member N.H. Liquor Commission with a single commissioner

Later this year, the three-member New Hampshire Liquor Commission will become a state agency run by a single commissioner.

Gov. Maggie Hassan on Tuesday signed a bill establishing a single commissioner to head the semiautonomous department, which operates a statewide network of liquor and wine stores. The three-member model dates to the commission’s creation in 1934.

Hassan, a Democrat, yesterday called the bill a “commonsense” measure that “will help the Liquor Commission build upon its record-breaking 2013 sales and more effectively operate like New Hampshire’s successful businesses.”

Hassan proposed going to a single-commissioner model in her state budget earlier this year. The separate bill was introduced by Republican Rep. Marilinda Garcia of Salem; it passed the Republican-led Senate on a voice vote and the Democratic-led House on a 316-23 vote.

The change takes effect after 60 days. Current Chairman Joseph Mollica will become the new commissioner, and commission member Michael Milligan will become deputy commissioner. The third seat on the commission is vacant.

The State needs to get out of the business of liquor and wine sales and let private package stores sell these products. Liquor commission should only exist to oversee alcohol sales and safety.

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