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The 2017 Legislative Session is over! The session ended on May 10th. As is always the case, the Legislature dealt with a number of alcoholic beverage-related items. The subject matter ranged from lowering the age of alcohol servers, to expanding gaming in Arizona at licensed beverage establishments. In between, a number of more routine provisions were considered and passed by the Legislature.
The primary liquor bill for 2017 was HB 2337, the near-annual omnibus bill.
This bill provided the following benefits and limitations for ALBA members and other retailers:
Other liquor bills also of interest to ALBA: HB 2047 lowers the serving age from age 19 to age 18.
Other (non-liquor) bills of interest will have impact on ALBA establishments: SB 1406 is drafted as a remedy to "drive by" disability compliance lawsuits. The bill provides that before filing a civil action based on public accommodation violation, the notice has to be provided to allow the private entity to identify and cure the violation within thirty days. If a corrective action plan is necessary, the owner of the property can provide a notice of the plan; in that case, an additional sixty days is provided to the property owner to make corrections.
Bills that were filed that did not pass: Several items of legislation were filed that would have impacted ALBA, positively or negatively, that did not pass. These include the following:
HB 2490 - relating to the disapproval of licenses by municipalities;
SB 1363 - cancellation of a license for non-use;
SB 1465 - approval of licenses by nearby Reservation Tribal Councils;
SB 1312 - electronic bingo.
Generally, legislators and industry members take a "break" for several months after the legislative session. Because there are always instances identified to update the statutory language governing alcoholic beverages, there most likely will be another effort to identify liquor law revisions for the 2018 legislative session. One of these items that ALBA brought forward in 2017, but will continue to work on for the 2018 session, relates to acts of violence. ALBA's goal will be to have the statute and penalties applied to true acts of violence, and not mere verbal or gesturing conduct. ALBA will reach out to its Board and membership for identification of other needed changes in Arizona liquor laws.