Legislature(1995 - 1996)
05/04/1996 11:10 AM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CSHB 372(L&C) am LIQUOR LICENSES CHAIRMAN TAYLOR brought up CSHB 372(L&C) am as the next order of business before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The chairman stated the committee would stand in recess to a call of the chair to await a Senate committee substitute for HB 372 which would combine Senator Halford's bill and Representative Rokeberg's bill. SENATOR ELLIS asked if there was a title problem. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR stated he hasn't seen any of that work yet. He hasn't yet seen that any of those problems are bothering anybody. SENATOR ELLIS commented that the only thing worse than fish wars are liquor wars. Committee staff informed the committee that the committee subsitute was on its way. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR called a brief at ease to await the scs. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR called the committee back to order and stated that committee members have had a chance to perform a cursory review of the proposed committee substitute. The chairman stated he does not understand the changes the Senate CS makes, and asked Representative Rokeberg to walk the committee through them. REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG, prime sponsor of HB 372, stated he is also absorbing the same information the Judiciary Committee members are trying to absorb. The primary differences in Section 1 are that subsection (e) is no longer allowed as an exemption for the new category of exempt licenses, which for purposes of discussion he will call the tavern licenses. The tavern licenses would now have to meet the 50/50 food requirement under the restaurant license. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if what Representative Rokeberg is referring to as taverns, others refer to as brewpubs. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG responded no. In the state of Alaska, we have the beverage dispensary license, the restaurant license, and the 10% exempt license. In addition, we have the brewpub provision, which specifies that a person can produce 75,000 gallons or less on premises, but they have to have a beverage dispensary license. To be a brewpub, you have to have a beverage dispensary license. There are several businesses in the process of opening up in Anchorage which avoided the cost of a beverage dispensary license by acquiring a brewery license and a restaurant eating place license. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR called a recess so that Representative Rokeberg could return to the floor of the House for a vote on the railroad bill. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR called the committee back to order. MIA COSTELLO, Aide to Representative Norman Rokeberg, prime sponsor of HB 372, stated the bill would repeal the exemption for businesses with a brewery license and a restaurant eating place license with the 50/50 food provision. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the 50/50 food rule is gross for the whole establishment, or is it per customer. MS. COSTELLO responded the rule is applied as a gross to the sales of the establishment. She stated that the next change is to allow businesses with brewery and restaurant eating place licenses to have entertainment until 11:00 p.m. Number 360 SENATOR ELLIS asked what the rationale was for the change from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. MS. COSTELLO thinks it was a compromise. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR added that's about the time the Anchorage Symphony gets done. SENATOR ELLIS asked who it was a compromise between. MS. COSTELLO responded it is her understanding that the compromise occurred because establishments wanted to be able to have entertainment and attract people. But people aren't eating dinner at 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.: they're drinking. SENATOR ELLIS asked Ms. Costello to explain what portion of the scs is from the Rokeberg bill and what portion is from the Halford bill. MS. COSTELLO stated originally SB 372 still allowed those people who received exemptions to be exempt from the 50/50 food provision. The scs does not allow that. In Section 2, the change was from 6:00 p.m. originally, to 11:00 p.m. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR stated HB 372 would grandfather in those businesses who already have a brewery and a restaurant eating place license. SENATOR ELLIS asked why we would want to prohibit new businesses from getting brewery and restaurant eating place licenses. MS. COSTELLO responded she cannot answer that question. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR thinks that previously, businesses had to purchase a beverage dispensary license to have a brewpub business. SENATOR ELLIS thinks that businesses with beverage dispensary licenses and brewpub businesses felt that businesses with combination brewery and restaurant eating place licenses would be in competition with them. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR thinks HB 372 would stop competition at a lower entry fee. SENATOR ELLIS stated he never knew there was a state policy to prohibit brew-pubs. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR thinks that the current trend is to cut back on the availability of alcohol, but businesses with combination brewery licenses and restaurant eating place licenses were expanding alcohol sales and competing directly with brewpubs that owned liquor dispensary licenses. He asked Ms. Costello if he is relating things she has heard that are driving HB 372. Number 463 MS. COSTELLO replied yes. The other change to the bill is Section 4, which states that the ABC Board will have a public hearing on or before the first of next year to discuss the changes in HB 372. There are a number of people on hold for these licenses, and the board has issued a moratorium on issuing the licenses until HB 372 passes. SENATOR ELLIS asked how long the moratorium has been in place and how many licenses are being held up by the moratorium. MS. COSTELLO stated she knows of four, three of which have been issued by the board in the Anchorage area. There are five applications that are being held up by the moratorium. Whether or not more have applied since that time, which was about two months ago, she does not know. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if there would be nine new establishments selling alcohol in Anchorage. MS. COSTELLO replied that three businesses have received these types of licenses and will be grandfathered in under this bill. The others would not be grandfathered in if HB 372 passes. SENATOR GREEN asked if this is outside the purview of the ABC board at this time. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR responded that without HB 372, the ABC Board would be forced to issue more licenses. SENATOR MILLER made a motion to adopt SCS CSHB 372(JUD). The committee substitute was adopted by a vote of three yeas, one nay, and one absent. Voting for adoption were Senators Taylor, Miller, and Green. Voting against adoption was Senator Ellis. Senator Adams was absent. SENATOR ELLIS asked how the title change will be handled. SENATOR MILLER stated a title change resolution will be adopted in the Rules Committee. MS. COSTELLO added that a title change resolution has already been drafted and Senate Judiciary Committee staff has a copy of that resolution. SENATOR MILLER made a motion to discharge SCS CSHB 372(JUD) from the Senate Judiciary Committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR ELLIS objected. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked that the roll be called on the motion. The motion was adopted by a vote of three yeas, one nay, and one absent. Voting for the motion were Senators Taylor, Miller, and Green. Voting against the motion was Senator Ellis. Senator Adams was absent.