Legislature(1995 - 1996)

05/04/1996 11:10 AM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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             
 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                
 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            
 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               
 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.                                             

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