The Thirsty Beagle: House seeks change in liquor store proposal in SJR 68

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

House seeks change in liquor store proposal in SJR 68

I mentioned on Facebook late Monday night that Senate Joint Resolution 68 was on the House calendar for Tuesday, and the House did indeed take some action on the alcohol reform measure on Tuesday.

Two amendments were proposed for the bill.

The first amendment, by Rep. Todd Russ, would insert language that would require those serving, selling, preparing, dispensing or otherwise delivering alcohol to patrons of a licensed establishment, or those managing such people, to have completed a responsible alcoholic beverage server training program.

Where that amendment was slightly mundane, although certainly not unimportant, the second amendment was very interesting.

That amendment, by Rep. Tommy Hardin, would lift any restrictions on sales of non-alcohol items by liquor stores. The amendment would delete from the bill the 20 percent cap in place in the original language.

That would appear to be a significant win for liquor stores, who have argued that they have been on the short end of most of the language in SJR 68.

Speaking of SJR 68, I've been doing some light reading on the measure, and came across a handy-dandy explainer that I thought I would pass your way. After all, SJR 68 is on the House calendar yet again on Wednesday.

That means by day's end, it could be on its way to the November election ballot.

So let's break it down, because there's a lot more to SJR 68 than just wine in grocery stores and cold beer in liquor stores.

SJR 68 would ask the people to vote on amending the Oklahoma constitution to repeal Article 28 and to add a new article, 28A. Article 28A contains 10 sections:

Section 1: Provides that all beverages that contain alcohol, unless otherwise defined, are to be considered alcoholic beverages and are to be governed by this Article;

Section 2: Directs the Legislature to enact laws providing for the regulation, control, licensing and taxation of the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, transportation and consumption of alcoholic beverages; prohibits common ownership between the manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing tiers; prohibits a manufacturer, except a brewer, from selling beverages unless the sales occur through an Oklahoma wholesaler; allows winemakers to sell to any licensed wholesaler. (This is the part that says the Legislature may later try to force Anheuser-Busch to sell off its distributorships.)

Section 3: Allows the Legislature to establish licenses for the sale of alcoholic beverages to consumers for off-premises consumption. (Like retail spirits licenses, retail wine licenses, etc. This is the part that most likely troubles the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma the most.)

Section 4: Provides qualifications for licensure.

Section 5: Prohibits a licensee from furnishing any alcoholic beverage to a minor, person who has been adjudged insane, or to any person who is intoxicated.

Section 6: Directs the Legislature to establish days on which alcoholic beverages may be sold or served to consumers.

Section 7: Provides that the retail sale of alcoholic beverages are subject to sales tax.

Section 8: Prohibits the government or political subdivisions from engaging in any phase of the alcoholic beverage business.

Section 9: Authorizes incorporated cities and towns to levy an occupation tax for the manufacture, distribution or sale of alcoholic beverages.

Section 10: Establishes effective dates. (October 2018, in case you hadn't heard.)

If you don't read or understand anything else, you should try to read and understand Sections 2 and 3. That's where most of the meat of the measure is located. You can read the bill, minus Tuesday's amendments, right here.

Again, the measure is on the House calendar for Wednesday. It's possible we could see more amendments, or we could see a straight vote to send it to the ballot.

Since things seem to be really heating up, I'll post another blog in the morning. I've spent the past couple weeks talking to a lot of people in the industry about SJR 68. I think their opinions can answer a lot of questions about the measure. Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment