The Thirsty Beagle: As deadline nears, Senate approves SJR 68, SB 424

Monday, May 23, 2016

As deadline nears, Senate approves SJR 68, SB 424

With only a few days left in the 2016 legislative session, a pair of key alcohol law reform measures today took one step closer to their respective finish lines.

The Oklahoma Senate voted 42-3 this afternoon to approve Senate Bill 424. The bill, which would go into effect July 1 of this year, would allow Oklahoma craft brewers to sell their full-strength beers to consumers on the brewery premises.

The bill does not appear to differentiate between sales for on- or off-premise consumption.

A wide cross-sample of Oklahoma brewers have described this bill as a game-changer in the state's craft beer industry.

The bill now moves along to a vote of the full House. If it is passed there, it would need only the governor's signature to go into effect.

Also this afternoon, in an expected move, the Senate voted 30-14 to approve Senate Joint Resolution 68. This now sends SJR 68 back to the full House for consideration.

With approval from the House, SJR 68 would send to the November election ballot a state question asking voters to revamp the Oklahoma constitution as it pertains to alcohol laws. The primary results, among others, would be elimination of Oklahoma's dual-strength system and the sale of strong beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores.

A companion bill, Senate Bill 383, would spell out more changes, although that bill remains in committee and can't go into effect without the passage of SJR 68 first.

Both the Beer Distributors of Oklahoma and Tap Oklahoma, the advocacy group backed by the likes of Walmart and the state's convenience stores, voiced support for the Senate's action on SJR 68.

"The Beer Distributors of Oklahoma applaud the state Senate for their passage of SJR 68, and look forward to the measure being taken up again in the House of Representatives before the legislative session adjourns this week," said Brett Robinson, BDO president.

Tap Oklahoma spokesman Tyler Moore issued this statement:

"We're one step closer to allowing Oklahomans to vote on modern beer and wine laws this November. The widespread support from today's vote confirms our polling, which shows the majority of Oklahomans want increased choice and convenience when it comes to beer and wine."

(Blogger's note: I will update this story as more reaction/information becomes available.)

2 comments:

  1. Nick, any details on SB 424 ? Like if I want to buy a case of F5 from COOP , is that allowed ? Or is it only tap room and growler fills ?

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    1. As I understand it, you could buy bottles/cans and take them home. The bill does not appear to say anything on where the consumption can occur.

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