Booze Laws Roundup

By Danica Barnett
Posted in The Field Guide to Drinking in America, on May 19, 2016

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The 2016 legislative sessions saw no shortage of booze-related bills introduced to the House and Senate. Although not all of the bills make it through, there have been several changes and additions to drinking laws in the United States. As the 2016 legislative sessions draw to a close, take a look back on some of the alcohol-related laws that passed:

1. Michigan’s House Bill 4895 revised a gas station liquor license provision to allow retailers with a gas station to sell beer and wine as long as they have at least $250,000 worth of non-alcoholic inventory. The bill will go into effect on July 11, 2016.

2. In 2015, Iowa signed a new law expanding the retail sales of beer growlers to stores so long as they submit a business plan to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. New beer growler rules took effect on March 9, 2016 which no longer requires retailers to submit business plans. Instead, they are required to comply with the rules found on the Alcoholic Beverages Division’s website.

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3. Bans on powdered alcohol have been popping up across the country. Iowa’s governor Brandstad signed House Bill 331, which would ban powdered alcohol, and goes into effect on July 1. The law prohibits Iowa businesses from selling any alcohol in a powdered or crystalline form for consumption. California lawmakers also unanimously voted to pass a powdered alcohol ban with Senate Bill 819. Any person who possesses, purchases or uses powdered alcohol will be subjected to a fine of $125. Idaho’s lawmakers also passed a similar bill banning powdered alcohol with House Bill 331.

4. On April 9, 2016 Kentucky governor Matt Bevin signed a bill amending Senate Bill 11 into law, allowing for a local option election for alcohol sales in any city or country where a distillery is located. The changes will go into effect 90 days after the Kentucky legislative session adjourns.

5. In Nebraska, Kearney City Council voted to lift a liquor license ordinance restricting any business within 150 feet of a hospital, school or Church from having a liquor license. The proactive ruling aimed to protect downtown businesses, who would be prevented from expanding or selling their business if a hospital, school or Church moved into the area.

6. Maryland passed two alcohol-related bills during this legislative session. Noah’s Law, which passed unanimously in both the House and Senate, would make ignition interlocks mandatory. Another alcohol-related bill, known as Alex and Calvin’s law, gives judges the option to jail parents who host underage drinking parties or provide alcohol to minors for up to one year for their first offense. Both bills are currently pending being signed into law by the governor.

Learn more about drinking laws in America with The Field Guide to Drinking in America by Niki Ganong.