Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Last Call: Time Running out for Liquor Law Changes in Legislature

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Last Call: Time Running out for Liquor Law Changes in Legislature

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Time is running out for legislation addressing the state's alcohol laws to get out of its current committee. Initiative petitions that could take the issue to vote are facing challenges as well.

Senate Joint Resolution 68 has one more meeting before it gets left in the House of Representatives Rules Committee, never making it to the floor or the November election ballot.

Bills from opposite houses have until April 8 to get out of committee. The House Rules Committee meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. in room 512C. However, the March 30 meeting was canceled. A meeting calendar does not show an April 6 Rules Committee meeting, though there are other meetings scheduled that week.

State Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Ardmore, chairs the Rules Committee. State Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Warr Acres, serves as vice chairman. In the 2015 session, both men voted no on Senate Bill 383, which also attempted to change the state's liquor laws and allow the sale of cold, full-strength beer.

SJR 68 would eliminate any constitutional requirement for 3.2- percent beer.

The statute would also create new licenses for sales. Retail spirits licenses would be for stores that focus on alcohol sales. They would allow sales of spirits in original sealed packages, along with cold wine and beer. They could also begin to sell items such as soda, ice and mixers, which could not make up more than 20 percent of monthly sales.

A retail beer license would allow sales of refrigerated or non- refrigerated beer in its original package. A retail wine license has similar provisions.

None of the new licenses contain limitations on the number of retail locations. Issues such as hours of sale, time and taxation will be addressed by the Legislature, the resolution states.

Neither man could be reached this week. A representative from Nelson's office directed any questions about the Rules Committee to Hardin, who did not return calls or an email. …

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