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Legislative Update ~ 2nd Quarter 2018
The Legislature has passed, and the Governor has signed, HB 2334, the 2018 version of the annual “liquor omnibus” bill. The bill is a product of the various representatives from the liquor industry working together to support consensus changes to Arizona’s liquor laws.
These include the following:
1. Providing a defense for a charge of an act of violence if the licensee acted reasonably, responsibly, and as expeditiously as possible by asking for intervention by a peace officer to prevent or break-up a riot, a fight, an altercation or tumultuous conduct. Until this change, a licensee has been in jeopardy by calling a police officer. Under today’s provisions, calling a police officer by itself to break-up a fight in some circumstances it is an act of violence.
2.Clarifying the definition of an “act of violence”. Ambiguity is eliminated by uniformly defining an act of violence as “a riot, fight, altercation or tumultuous conduct where a person sustains obvious bodily injuries, or that is of sufficient intensity to require the intervention of a peace officer, or where a weapon is brandished, or where the licensee fails to follow a clear and direct order from a law enforcement officer or fire marshal. The change also eliminated the inclusion of disorderly conduct as a component of an act of violence. ALBA asserted that the current inclusion of disorderly conduct allowed a licensee to be unfairly charged with an act of violence for loud voices, or gestures.
3. Clarifying the definition of “club” to make it clear that a club can lawfully invite members, spouses of members, families of members, bona fide guests of members and guests at other specific events authorized in Title 4.
4. Establishing a method of valuation of liquor licenses when new licenses (or the reissuance of previously revoked licenses) are to be issued by the Department. Currently, in many cases a median value between the high and low of a license type in a county is a value that is set by the Department for the issuance of a license. Both the Department and ALBA licensees have stated that the current valuation produces a dollar value that is unrealistically low. The new language provides that the value is to be determined by what a willing buyer and willing seller would pay, and that the value shall include a weighted average value if there are trends in license pricing in a county. The effect of this change will be that the Department will no longer issue licenses at a value which artificially depresses the value of current licenses held by businesses.
5. Supporting a provision that was advocated by the craft brewers that permits craft brewers to maintain a tapping equipment system for a licensed retailer.
Additionally, the legislation permits the reissuance of previously revoked license at a rate of not more than 20% of the revoked licenses by class in any year, providing that a craft distillery festival license and farm winery festival licenses are exempt from the 300 foot limitation from a church or school.
ALBA also participated in the drafting of language that will require training courses for security personnel assigned to monitor admission of patrons. The training will include strategies for use of force and for the use of de-escalation techniques. Additionally on this subject, the Department will adopt a form for use after January 1, 2019, that is required for use by all on-sale retailers that hire or designate employees to serve as security personnel. It will require the applicant or employee to disclose whether they had been found guilty or pled to certain specific crimes within the previous five years. A disclosure on those particular crimes will prevent them from being hired or designated specifically as a security guard.
Numerous other changes were made to other liquor law provisions. These include more specification and limits in “wine pull” events conducted by charities and further specification of privileges associated with a farm winery festival license.
Most of the provisions of HB 2334 will become effective 90 days after the Legislature adjourns (probably around August 1st). The security-related provisions willbecomeeffective after January 1, 2019.
Founded 1936 | Issue 2 - 2018
A Number of the Changes in the Omnibus Bill are the result of ALBA’s drafting and advocacy.