New Kansas bill would allow counties to vote on liquor sales

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas bill introduced Wednesday would allow a county’s voters to decide if their grocery stores can sell liquor, wine and spirits; and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer.

The Hutchinson News reports that the bill introduced Wednesday would allow a county’s board of commissioners to submit a ballot to voters in the general election about the sale of beer and liquor. If the commission does not pass a resolution to submit a ballot, then citizens may petition for an election.

Grocery stores would buy a retailers’ class B liquor license from a liquor store, and the negotiated price could range widely, from $10,000 to $100,000.

Uncork Kansas spokeswoman Jessica Lucas says the bill has merit. Uncork Kansas is a group that believes that Kansas’s liquor laws are outdated.

“Given that the citizens of Kansas desire options in the marketplace, we believe the outcome in the recent Tennessee election, where 100 percent of the 78 participating municipalities voted to allow grocery stores to sell wine, is an excellent indicator for how Kansans will vote when they have the option,” Lucas wrote.

Several liquor stores in Kansas have opposed Uncork Kansas and its advocacy.

“They would only have to work over a handful of county commissioners,” said Michael Dick, a co-owner of DJ Liquor who is critical of the new bill.

The general counsel and director of legislative services for the Kansas Association of Counties said the group supports local control, but that it will take a neutral stance on the bill until it can be reviewed.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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