As mentioned earlier this week, there has been a lot of action on the alcoholic beverage industry legislative scene over the last few weeks without even considering the direct shipping related legislation that has been on the scene in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey (for a summary of such legislation see freethegrapes.org). Below is a look at some of the major pieces of state proposed legislation.
Georgia, SB 10 – On March 16, 2011, the Georgia Senate passed SB 10, which would allow for take-away sales of wine and beer on Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at eligible retailers. Connecticut, Indiana, and Georgia are the only three states that still have complete bans on all alcohol sales from off-premises retailers on Sundays. More frequently States ban sales of distilled spirits and/or wine on Sundays, if there is a ban at all. If the Bill passes, such alcohol sales would be determined on a local level rather than the state issued ban.
Washington, I-1157, SB 5111 – Privatization efforts are back in full swing in Washington State, which sells distilled spirits only through state run liquor stores. On March 18, 2011, Stefan Scharkansky filed Initiative 1157, the text of which is available here. The Initiative is extensive but overall, it would allow stores that currently sell beer and wine and have no record of safety violations to sell liquor as well. The bill’s author purports that Initiative 1157 is better than Initiatives 1100 (which Scharkansky helped author) and 1105, which were voted down last November, because it would require tighter control of liquor sales than the prior initiatives and also maintain tax revenues. Mr. Scharkansky is not the only one dipping his toes into the waters of Washington privatization. Tom Luce, a business consultant has floated the idea of a private-state partnership where a private company takes over the distribution piece of the liquor business and the state maintains the retail portion. All this action is on top of Senate Bill 5111, introduced by Senators Sheldon, Rockefeller, King, Hobbs, and Litzow, which we covered previously.
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