Efforts to bring Kansas consumers options in how they purchase adult beverages will extend to the Senate Federal and State Affairs committee next week. Uncork Kansas supporters will testify in favor of SB 298 Tuesday, March 31st, at 10 a.m. as part of continued efforts to modernize outdated alcohol regulations that restrict consumer choice. The proposed bill mirrors legislation that was passed out of the House Commerce committee, but also includes a county option. The county option will give Kansas citizens the opportunity to cast their vote in favor of the freedom to decide where they purchase beer, wine, and spirits.
“Current liquor laws restrict the freedoms of Kansas consumers,” said David Dillon, Uncork Kansas chairman and former chairman and CEO of supermarket and convenience store Kroger Co. “Adults should have the ability to choose when and where they make purchases—and businesses operating in a free market should be afforded the right to meet customer demand.”
Established in 1948 when Prohibition was repealed, today’s law allows inequity in the marketplace as it imposed restrictions on liquor store owners ability to own multiple locations or sell non-alcoholic products and established anti-consumer protections within the industry. Under SB 298, such restrictions would be lifted and a cap would be placed on the number of licenses available. Grocery and c-stores could sell regular strength beer and would permit grocery stores to sell wine and spirits in a segregated area if they purchased an existing license from a current liquor license holder.
In addition, bill language stipulates the change would happen at the county level if the populous voted in favor of such change during a general election. County option has been the primary vehicle for changing Kansas liquor laws and was the tool used to bring liquor by the drink to Kansas in 1987.
“It's unfortunate consumers will have to wait until they can vote on this issue to enjoy the freedoms most every other state currently has in regard to the purchase of adult beverages. Given that the citizens of Kansas desire options in the marketplace, we believe the outcome in the recent Tennessee election, where 100 percent of the 78 participating municipalities voted to allow grocery stores to sell wine, is an excellent indicator for how Kansans will vote when they have the option,” stated Jessica Lucas, Uncork Kansas spokesperson.
Supporters of Uncork Kansas legislation should contact members of the Senate Fed and State Committee urging them to VOTE YES for SB 298!
Chairman Ostmeyer - 785-371-9074
Senator Mitch Holmes - 785-371-9076
Senator Rob Olson - 785-371-9218
Senator Oletha Faust-Goudea - 785-330-5282
Senator Rick Wilborn - 785-371-9229
Senator Tom Holland - 785-371-9141
Senator Kay Wolf - 785-296-7390
Senator Jake LaTurner - 785-296-7370
Senator Jeff Longbine - 785-296-7384