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Deposit On Mini Liquor Bottles Becomes Law After Senate Overrides LePage Veto

The Legislature has overridden Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that imposes a refundable 5-cent deposit on small liquor bottles often called nips.

The Senate voted to override the governor’s veto 29-6 on Wednesday. The vote came one day after the House also overrode the governor, 114-31.

The bill is designed to discourage roadside litter by imposing the refundable deposit on 50-milliliter bottles beginning in 2019.

Sales of nips has exploded over the last few years, from 8 million bottles last year to an estimated 12 million this fiscal year. But so too have reports of empty bottles discarded in parking lots and on the side of the road.

In his veto letter, LePage said the real issue is drunk driving. The governor has threatened to delist nips so that they are no longer sold in Maine — which would result in an estimated $7 million in lost revenue to the state.

The bill now becomes law.