The Thirsty Beagle: Liquor store group sues to up-end SQ 792

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Liquor store group sues to up-end SQ 792

A group of state liquor stores has filed a lawsuit to try and have State Question 792 thrown out.

The court challenge, reported on Monday afternoon by The Oklahoman, has been long-expected.

The liquor stores argue that SQ 792 in unconstitutional because it allows grocery and convenience stores to have an unlimited amount of licenses to sell wine and some strong beers, but only allows liquor stores to have two licenses to sell liquor.

At this point, I will provide the obligatory reminder that according to State Sen. Stephanie Bice -- one of the authors of the legislation that turned into SQ 792 -- liquor store owners were offered the option to own several licenses to sell liquor, but argued against that.

As Bice stated, they did not want to allow liquor stores to have too many licenses because they feared franchises like Spec's and Total Wine would come into Oklahoma.

That being said, it's totally within their rights to sue. It's a free country. We will have to see how this plays out in the courts.

Will the courts decide that the government is within its rights to use different regulations for companies that sell liquor and those that don't? We shall see -- but to me, that appears to be the central question in this case.

Although it has no real bearing on the court case, it is worth noting that SQ 792 passed with more than 65 percent support from state voters.

1 comment:

  1. There may be more to this issue than you indicate. I wouldn't say Senator Bice deliberately misrepresented anything, but it seems doubtful informed liquor store owners are scared of Spec's or Total Wine because neither Spec's nor Total Wine would appear to meet the residency requirement for Oklahoma licensure, nor do they currently operate franchises. They are both private, family-owned corporations.