Topeka — A bill requiring liquor stores to keep track of who buys their beer kegs rolled out of committee Thursday.
The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee's endorsement came only a day after some members complained they had too many questions about the bill to proceed with a vote. The committee's voice vote sent the bill to the Senate for a debate that could occur next week.
The measure is intended to make it easier to track kegs by discouraging adults from buying kegs for parties at which underage drinkers are present. Critics, including liquor industry lobbyists, question whether the bill can be enforced and would accomplish the goal.
Questions included how a new registration law would be enforced and whether cities could exempt themselves from it and render any statewide requirement meaningless.
Chairwoman Nancey Harrington, R-Goddard, said the bill's most ardent supporter Republican Sen. Jim Barnett, who is an Emporia physician answered questions well enough to create a "comfort level" for the bill.
But Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, said what changed was supporters' reading of where committee members stood. He said Barnett and Harrington, who also backs the bill, learned it had enough support.
Rebecca Rice, a lobbyist for clubs, taverns and beer distributors, said: "They were pushing it hard."
Under the measure, stores would have to put identification numbers on containers of more than 4 gallons of beer and record who buys them. Law enforcement officials could check a store's record if they busted a beer bash and no one claimed the keg.