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Legislative Update ~ 2nd Quarter 2019

                                                     2019 Arizona Legislature at Midpoint for Bill Consideration 

The Arizona Legislature has been in session for seven weeks, and the first phase of the session is over. That phase is when bills introduced in either the House or the Senate are heard in that body first. After that period, the bills are considered on the floor of that house before that whole body, and then “cross over” to the second house for consideration.  ALBA has been watching two bills primarily, and will report on an additional bill, as well. 
 First, the liquor omnibus bill is an annual bill that collects consensus proposed changes to the liquor code and advances those changes as one measure. This year’s bill, HB 2281, has proceeded through the House Commerce Committee, the House Committee of the Whole, and is awaiting a final reading in the House.  Assuming that it passes the House, it will then be considered in the Senate Commerce Committee and then by the entire Senate. Changes include: permitted use of “biometric identity verification device” for age verification; modernization of liquor delivery statutes that allow the liquor ordering and processing process to continue for 24 hours, so long as actual delivery does not take place from a retailer to a customer during the hours of 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.; more supervision authority by the Director over liquor trainers; authorizing direct donations by a producer or wholesaler to charity events; clarification of the small restaurant exemption; clarification of the production and storage space of farm wineries; clarification for the ability of a licensee to charge a fee for bona fide education classes; a new joint premises provision whereby adjoining liquor licensees holding the same type of license can extend their premises jointly for a joint service and consumption area; and clarification on the Department’s role in the collection of taxes at the time of license transfers.  ALBA has participated in all of the discussions leading up to this point and has supported the provisions of HB 2281.  
 A second bill, HB 2473, provides that one of the seven members of the Liquor Board is a representative from an Arizona city or town. ALBA is monitoring this legislation, but as of this time has not taken a position for or against the legislation. 
 A third bill, SB 1163, has been amended to permit lawful sports betting activities on the part of an Arizona Indian tribe to extend to Arizona restaurants, bars and club licensees. The SB 1163 striker was brought to the Legislature by the Navajo tribe. This legislation passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and has received strong opposition from most of Arizona’s Indian tribes. Most of these tribes have taken the position that any discussion of off-reservation gambling activities by a tribe should be done in the context of renegotiation of the Indian gaming compacts which are scheduled to be addressed in the next several years.  The Navajo tribe is seeking to replace revenues that will be lost once a large coal-fired electrical plant, the Navajo Generating Station, is shut down within the next twelve months.  
 ALBA has taken a position in support of SB 1163 striker, and continues to support the expansion of gaming to include gaming opportunities in restaurants and bars. ALBA will continue to monitor all liquor-related legislation and legislation relating to Indian gaming. As always, please contact the ALBA office, or Isaacson & Walsh, for information regarding any particular legislative item. 

- Don  Isaacson

Founded 1936 | 2019

From the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association (ALBA)

 800-453-5232 / 602-285-1092