DISCUS State Legislative Activity Roundup
Despite the ongoing challenges facing the industry and the country, DISCUS has made progress in a number of states since our last report in March. Notably:
- Kentucky: last week, HB 415 became law. This bill amends current law allowing the direct-to-consumer shipment of beverage alcohol to and from the Commonwealth of Kentucky by brewers, vintners and distillers. It amends the state’s direct shipping law and creates a new “shipping permit” to allow in and out-of-state suppliers, importers, wholesalers and retailers to ship spirits, beer and wine to Kentucky consumers and retailers. The legislation treats all alcohol products equally, avoids Commerce Clause issues, maintains state tax collections and safeguards against underage purchases of beverage alcohol. The bill will become effective 90 days after the legislature adjourns.
- Idaho: Governor Brad Little signed HB 575, legislation to allow spirits tastings in state stores into law. Under the new law, Idaho consumers will be able to sample .25 fluid ounces of up to 3 different spirits products made available at pre-planned spirits tasting events. The law goes into effect July 1, 2020.
- West Virginia: (HB 4524) passed the week of March 9th. This law reverses the current Prohibition-era structure of state laws by requiring localities to opt-out of selling spirits rather than forcing dry counties to opt-in.
- Oklahoma: On March 3, seven counties in Oklahoma overwhelmingly approved the sale of distilled spirits on Sundays, expanding access and consumer convenience in the state. SB 211, a bill supported by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), passed in 2017 giving counties the option to vote on the Sunday sale of spirits. The bill went into effect in October 2018, and these elections are the first held on the issue since that time.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, DISCUS is also closely monitoring changes in policies related to the sale of alcohol. All states, except Pennsylvania, have continued to permit retail sales of beverage alcohol during the emergency. DISCUS is maintaining a chart showing all policies related to alcohol sales in the states. This can be accessed here and you can stay up to date on the latest on all COVID-19 news that relates to the industry here.