Archive for Monday, February 13, 2012

Legislature considering 13 alcohol bills

February 13, 2012, 9:51 a.m. Updated February 13, 2012, 11:58 a.m.


— Kansas lawmakers have been talking about alcohol a lot this legislative session, with more than a dozen proposed bills in various stages of the legislative process.

Although alcohol-related laws are proposed every session, Sen. Pete Brungardt, chairman of the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, said it's unusual to have so many liquor bills under consideration.

During a recent meeting, Brungardt's committee heard testimony on bills to expand licensing options and allow sampling at distilleries, passed a bill allowing full-strength alcoholic drinks on state lands and waters and delayed discussion on a bill to loosen happy hour restrictions to the following day, where three other alcohol-related bills were already waiting.

Brungardt said most of the liquor legislation in his committee involves minor tweaks to existing law, which he said happens nearly every year, in part because of intense efforts by several lobbyists.

One of those lobbyists told The Topeka-Capital Journal that 13 alcohol-related bills are before the legislature.

The bill drawing the most interest would allow groceries and convenience stores to acquire liquor licenses. The House Commerce and Economic Development Committee held hearings that attracted several supporters and opponents. Liquor store owners argued grocers who could sell liquor would drive them out of business. Grocery store owners responded that Kansas residents should be allowed to decide where to buy their alcohol.

Doug Jorgenson, director of the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control division, told the House committee he expected about 2,000 more establishments would apply for liquor licenses if the bill passed. While that would increase revenue for the state, his agency would need another $1.4 million in funding to hire 18 more staff members, said Jorgenson, who said he is neutral on the bill.

"We're doing our best right now, but we're short-staffed and underfunded like most state agencies," he said.

The bill has been referred to a subcommittee in the House, while a similar bill sits in the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee.

Sen. Roger Reitz, R-Manhattan said he won't hold the bill in committee but will vote against it if it gets to the Senate floor.

"If I'd have had my druthers years ago, I'd still be in the same place my father and my family were and put alcohol way back on the back burner and leave it there," said Reitz, a physician. "That's not the case anymore and these things are all coming along."

Philip Bradley, of p.b.c Consulting, is representing Artisan Distillers of Kansas' efforts to create a separate, more affordable class of license for producers of 50,000 gallons of hard liquor or less each year.

Bradley, who also represents craft brewers and farm wineries, said he wasn't sure why so many liquor bills were before lawmakers this year.

"I could speculate, but speculating never gets you anywhere," Bradley said. "There's just an awful lot of them and we're grinding through them, slowly and surely hopefully."


ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 3 months ago

Gov. Sam Brownback considering 13 alcohol bottles

Tonie Barnett Bruns 6 years, 3 months ago

Nice math KRichards. I was unaware of difference in units! Glad someone is paying attention.

gccs14r 6 years, 3 months ago

And it's not like it'll put mom 'n pop shops out of business. They just won't make the bulk of their sales from selling 300 cases of Natty Light to the frats every weekend. They'll have to specialize in higher-end (or lower end) products and customer service, or maybe put a humidor in the back.

CLARKKENT 6 years, 3 months ago


flyin_squirrel 6 years, 3 months ago

Kansas should change the law regarding happy hours. The fact a restaurant cannot have a drink happy hour special is ridiculous.

tolawdjk 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm curious to know if any jobs bills will be taken up by the legislature this year or if it is strictly going to social engineering from here on out?

tolawdjk 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm curious to know if any jobs bills will be taken up by the legislature this year or if it is strictly going to social engineering from here on out?

Enlightenment 6 years, 3 months ago

tolawdjk, I was wondering the same. Everything that has been discussed has been social and moral issues. The majority of state residents are more concerned with surviving financially than they are about appeasing the minorities' personal belief system.

cowboy 6 years, 3 months ago

I'd propose a new bill . ID for all alcohol sales , if you have an alcohol related offense your right to purchase alcohol is suspended and noted on your drivers license. Stop the consumption and forget the alcohol rehab industry and court fines that seem to do little other than fill up the coffers at the courts.

deec 6 years, 3 months ago

I live in a town with about 1400 residents. You can buy booze at the liquor store, grocery store, gas station or one of four bars. Two of the bars have been on the market for years, and are only open when the owners feel like it. When the grocery started selling booze, it did not put the liquor store out of business. It is pretty convenient to pick up an occasional six pack or bottle of wine while I'm getting groceries.

evilpenguin 6 years, 3 months ago

Don't see why grocery stores shouldn't be allowed to sell booze. So long as they stick to the same laws that everywhere else has to, then it shouldn't be a problem.

Why bother legislating based on the problem of alcoholism? If a person wants to drink, then they will find somewhere to buy liquor, whether it be in a grocery store, gas station. liquor store etc. At what stage does personal responsibility (or lack thereof) start controlling everyone's lives? If people want to drink themselves to death, that's their choice.

evilpenguin 6 years, 3 months ago

Whether you pass the law or not, people are going to drink and drive regardless. The only way to get around it would be to a) ban alcohol or b) ban driving, neither of which I see happening in the near future. Unfortunately there are always going to be people who are stupid and drink and drive and people who get hurt or killed because of it. I just don't think selling liquor in a grocery store is really going to make that big of a difference.

CLARKKENT 6 years, 3 months ago


James Crady 6 years, 3 months ago

So does this bill allow the liqour stores to sell something other than liqour? That would be the improvement needed and a fair response for the liqour store owners to generate other sources of income. It would also be better for the citizens since you could one stop shop. Imagine that!

headdoctor 6 years, 3 months ago

More like LOL WUT? ShePrecedes, am I just a little to twisted for my own good or did you just not think your post all the way through? The way it sounds is cousins few, cousins many. Blank, blank, blank, blank.

Mixolydian 6 years, 3 months ago

Kansas should also do away with the antiquated mandatory distributorship law. There'd be many more breweries, pico, nano and micro, if brewers were allowed to self distribute to bars, restaurants and liquor strores.

Liberty275 6 years, 3 months ago

If they would consider paying the $3000 bill for a bottle of 1940 Glenlivet, I'll take it.

Joe Hyde 6 years, 3 months ago

We need a bill enacted that restricts the selling of 3.2 abv beer to only those establishments that sell lawn mowers and other yard maintenance equipment. All other businesses must sell only 5% abv or higher beers; i.e., just the good stuff.

And more cans. Please, why can't the seriously good beers be sold in 12-oz. cans instead of always bottles?

juma 6 years, 3 months ago

Yes, KRichards, this time you are on the mark. The difference in alcohol content is nominal; unless you get the imports and super crafts. Some are over 9%. It is an 'urban mith' that grocery store beer is half the alcohol of liquor store beer.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 3 months ago

"Grocery store owners responded that Kansas residents should be allowed to decide where to buy their alcohol".

If they truly mean that, then I choose my pharmacy, my favorite restaurants, Pizza Shuttle, Famous Footware, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and our dog groomer. Oh...and my doctor's and dentist's office! (And I'm sure that Walmart will choose...Walmart.)

Actually...I remember driving through Oklahoma many years ago where the liquor stores had drive-up windows!! THAT is where I want to buy it...from a drive-through window!!!

Eugehne Normandin 6 years, 3 months ago

dogs and cats should be required to wear airbags to avoid death from contact with motor vehicles too

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