22 February 2010

Senate Bill 75 - SUPER-DUPER-SIZED!

Senate Bill 75 passed the House Public Policy Committee last week 10-0. In passing the Supersized Bill, two additions were made. The first eliminated language from the existing code that limited alcohol sales at publicly-owned airports to those that have regularly-scheduled commercial flights. This allows airports like Terre Haute's, which lost commercial flights, to retain a restaurant (or restaurants) with liquor licenses.

The second added language that would allow an indoor theater that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in a city of population between 200,000 and 300,000 to obtain a one-way, two-way, or three-way liquor license. Sound funny? Well, it is meant to help the Embassy Theatre in Ft. Wayne.

"The Embassy Theatre is a nonprofit organization," says Kelly Updike, Executive Director at the Embassy Theatre. "We are currently only able to obtain day/event permits for wine and beer sales for our concession/bar sales at performances, as we do not qualify for any other type of liquor permit under current law. I am told that there are other theaters or similar venues in the state which have received this type of code change in order to receive a three-way permit. Obtaining this permit will improve our revenue from concessions/bar sales tremendously, thus allowing us to better meet our mission of preserving and maintaining the historic Embassy Theatre."

I suspect that in future legislative sessions we'll see other privately-owned theaters who will be making contact with their legislators to get in on this action.

After passing the committee hearing, SB 75 had its second reading in the House. Two amendments were made. One slightly changes the language describing the steps required by applicants to obtain a permit in consolidated cities (i.e. Indiananpolis). No big deal. The second apparently postpones until May 2011 the requirement of retailers and dealers to have their servers and clerks trained within 120 days of employment and every three years after. I'm assuming that this would give the ATC and businesses more time to get their training programs in place.

With these amendments, SB 75 moved past the second reading and heads to the floor where, I predict, it will pass. It will then return to the Senate since the language is different from when it first left the Senate. Assuming it moves through the Senate again, it heads to the Governor for his signature.

My prediction: it will pass. You'll be able to buy carryout from your favorite brewer on Sundays; you'll be able to toast your vote right after you place it; and you'll be able to drink until 3am on Sundays, making Monday morning that much more difficult.

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