TOPEKA, KAN. - March 31, 2015 - Uncork Kansas presented testimony in favor of Senate Bill 298 in today’s Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee. The bill is considered a “county option” bill, meaning voters in each Kansas county would have the opportunity to vote in a general election to decide if adult beverages were retailed in grocery and convenience stores within the county. “Kansans deserve the opportunity to benefit on tangible things such as better pricing, convenience, an improved shopping experience, and increased selections that this free market legislation affords,” said Ken DeLuca, vice president of Dillons Food Stores. “It is disappointing that instead of advocating for Kansas consumers, the opposition continues to hide behind outdated protectionist law. The reality is that consumers in the vast majority of other states already enjoy the freedom to responsible choose where they purchase their adult beverages and Kansas should foster the same business practices.”
Under SB 298, voters who favorably passed the Uncork Kansas measure would be permitting grocery and convenience stores to sale regular strength beer and lift restrictions requiring them to sell only 3.2% beverages. It would also allow grocery stores to purchase a liquor license from an existing owner to retail wine and spirits. This provides existing liquor store owners with options as Kansas transitions to a stronger free market environment for adult beverage sales.
The bill will foster economic growth, recapture lost sales to bordering states, and provide Kansans the choice and convenience of where to purchase legal adult beverages.
“This should not be an issue in Kansas,” said Karen Washburn, a retiree from Olathe, Kan., who testified in favor of SB 298. “Liquor stores have stooped to new lows to protect their monopoly and deprive Kansans of the free-market choice that so many other states offer their citizens. I’m confident legislators will see through their scare tactics and finally pass this consumer friendly bill.”
Further action on SB 298 is not expected until after the legislature returns from their scheduled April break. At that time, both the Senate and the House will consider the Uncork Kansas legislation introduced in both bodies.