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Archive for Friday, January 4, 2013

Group seeks broader liquor sales

January 4, 2013

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TOPEKA — A proposal to allow the sale of liquor in convenience stores and grocery stores will come before the state Legislature this year, even though lawmakers have rejected a similar proposal in the past.

Uncork Kansas, a coalition of convenience stores, grocery stores, and chambers of commerce, said it planned to have a bill introduced “as early in the legislative session as possible,” said Jody Hanson, a spokeswoman for the group.

Kansans can buy liquor only in retail liquor stores, except for 3.2 beer and wine coolers. Supporters of the changes say the state law is antiquated and restricts the free market, while liquor store owners contend they might be forced out of business if the law changes, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Kent Eckles, vice president of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, said the existing law allows the state to choose which businesses can sell liquor.

“It is protecting an illegal monopoly,” he said.

Hanson predicted that more grocery and convenience stores would be built if the laws are changed, bringing more jobs to the state.

But Spencer Duncan, executive director of Keep Kansans in Business said the legislation would hurt existing stores, particularly in rural areas.

“We know that passing it opens no new businesses in the state of Kansas. However, we know passing it closes businesses in the state of Kansas,” he said.

Duncan said he was disappointed that the Kansas Chamber of Commerce supports the new proposed legislation because it contradicts the chamber’s goal of expanding the tax base. Money would go to states where corporations like Wal-Mart and QuikTrip are headquartered, he said.

“Dollars to liquor stores stay in the local communities. A dollar must stay in an economy for that economy to prosper,” he said. “It makes no sense to let that dollar leave.”

Hanson said more than 27,000 people have signed a petition in support of changing the liquor laws, and 2,500 have sent messages of support to legislators through Uncork Kansas’ website.

This year’s debate might be different in a Legislature with several new lawmakers who were elected after redistricting last year.

Eckles said he expects another difficult battle in the legislature. “There’s a lot of free-market people in the Legislature, but it takes several years for big ideas like this to pass,” he said.

Duncan said he doesn’t know what to expect.

“When you have so many new legislators, it’s a double-sided coin,” Duncan said. “Who the heck knows what they’re going to do? It’s a little scary. On the other side, we have a chance to educate new people.”

Comments

BOULEVARDWHEAT 1 year, 3 months ago

The liquor lobby is after self preservation. They were the ones that fought against sunday beer sales because they liked the extra days off. If you go to Missouri, there are plenty of liquor stores.

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MKrics 1 year, 3 months ago

Come on guys... This is AMERICA. The free market should dictate business. Not government, and especially not a REPUBLICAN government. No one will make people shop at the supermarket for alcohol. . If people want to shop at the small liquor stores, they are welcome to. The fact of the matter is, supermarkets and convenience stores are more convenient. By passing this law, the CONSUMER wins. They have the choice where to buy beer and alcohol.
Smaller stores can offer superior customer service and knowledge over huge chains, but it is up to them to differentiate their product. They probably won't be able to match national chains on price (think Wal-Mart... it's the #1 retailer for a reason - they're cheap). If they can't keep up with the changes, it's their loss and the consumers' win. Lawrence has a full range stores... From ALDI to the Merc and HyVee in grocery stores, and from Sonic to Pachamamas in restaurants. Yet, there are enough people to keep them all in business. The weak don't survive, the strong get stronger. Laws like the current ones are why the nation laughs at Kansas. Lets change this!

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funkdog1 1 year, 3 months ago

My fear is that this law could lead to liquor stores closing. Why punish those businesses? I can't see that adding more liquor in more locations would lead to more consumption, it would just lead to the dollars being spread more thinly.

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LawrenceCatbackers 1 year, 3 months ago

As a former liquor store owner in the state of Kansas, you might understand my point of view... but the changing of the laws will not better our society. (and just because our neighbors do it, doesn't mean we have to do it also.) Yes, Kansas is backward in many of its ideas and beliefs compared to other states out there, but I'd still rather live here with our relatively low crime rate and better quality of living than anywhere else in the nation.

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thuja 1 year, 3 months ago

Maybe partying will help.

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Kris Norton 1 year, 3 months ago

say goodbye to my little neighborhood liquor stores (Parkway & Glasshouse). They'll be gone within a few years if this passes. Remember....R's love small biz...we'll see how they vote. Yes Kansas is screwed up.....but this is why small biz liquor stores locate next to big biz.

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George_Braziller 1 year, 3 months ago

The liquor laws in Kansas are absurd and are still stuck in Prohibition mentality. Can sell gin in a liquor store but can't sell ice, cups, tonic water, or limes for a gin and tonic unless it's completely separated from the store and has its own cash register and books.

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dabbindan 1 year, 3 months ago

not a big issue on the scale of things. there will be winners and losers and maybe a wash for jobs on the whole...but...

if there is a major dislocation for liquor store owners in terms of employment and viability of their business, what job options do these dislocated people have in this economy? very limited ones. what is the upside for grocery stores? more profits in an already adequately profitable business. no grocery store is going to go out of business because they don't get to sell liquor.
if this is so important, for the sake of the liquor store industry which could be devastated, wait a few years for a better economy so there are better options available to them besides unemployment.

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ksjayhawk74 1 year, 3 months ago

This proposed change will not get more grocery stores and convenience stores built...

We already have plenty of grocery stores and convenience stores and adding liquor to the shelves isn't going to increase sales so much that whole new store will be needed.

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ljreader 1 year, 3 months ago

A better idea would be to allow liquor stores to sell other items- mixers, cigarettes, etc. This law would be punitive to liquor store owners (usually small businesses).

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juma 1 year, 3 months ago

No one should make any comments until they have read the Kansas ABC laws. Kansas alcohol laws are a mess and changing one part impacts dozens of other laws and conflicts. Best to rewrite the whole damn book. Do not compare Missouri or Colorado or any state without a complete comparison. Remember where the infamous Carrie Nation was living!

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moehobart 1 year, 3 months ago

You have to understand that passing this law only helps big business i.e. walmart quik trip, and hurts small business owners who put their dollars back into the community. Putting alcohol into grocery stores and gas stations wont increase revenue it will only spread it, thus driving up the cost. Sure it would be convenient but if its not broken dont fix it.

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bookemdano 1 year, 3 months ago

The most pathetic thing about this is that it's not some radical untested idea. Take a drive 40 miles across the Missouri border sometime and witness both liquor stores and grocery stores living in harmony, selling alcoholic beverages to responsible adults. Been that way for a long time.

(facepalm)

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Tom Hilger 1 year, 3 months ago

How about including home delivery? Make it even more convenient.

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FarneyMac 1 year, 3 months ago

"No government regulation!" ....unless it's regulating something we are opposed to!

Ah, Kansas. You're so predictable in your backwards-ness.

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mikekt 1 year, 3 months ago

We need to make it easier for people to become drunks !.....and a social liability !

That would make lots of jobs such as street cops, drunk tank officers, substance abuse counselors, undertakers, surgeons to repair the DWI consequences, auto body repairman, etc. !

Sounds like an economic stimulus program, to me,......plus more taxes off of the misdoings and misseries of others........net, clean, convenient ?! So business orientated !.........and the public can pay for the clean up of it all ! Whoo-Hooo !

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