Bills, bills, everywhere bills.
It’s only February, and I am already tracking 296 alcohol bills across 45 states. That’s a lot of pending legislative updates!
The states with the most activity so far are New York (41 bills of interest), Montana (23), Maryland (22), Tennessee (13), Oklahoma (12), and South Carolina (10).
As of this writing, Virginia’s legislators have already adjourned for the year, and these two alcohol bills are awaiting the governor’s signature/approval:
- self-distribution for craft brewers
- guardrails for in-store placement and signage for same-name alch/non-alch products
Wyoming and Utah legislators are also adjourning for the year. Wyoming’s governor has already signed a bill that will:
- phase out population-based quotas for bar and grill licenses
- allows entertainment venues to hold bar and grill licenses
Utah’s governor should be receiving two bills – one that creates additional guardrails on server liability, plus another 108-page omnibus bill that includes changes such as banning 50ml bottle sizes, allowing additional seltzer types to be sold in grocery stores, allowing a customer to carry their drink from the bar to their table, and oh, so much more!
As for all the other states, here are some common themes that have been filed in legislatures across the country:
- To reduce the age to consume alcohol – South Carolina and Montana
- To reduce the age to sell/serve/handle alcohol – New Mexico, Iowa, Minnesota
- To reduce the age to deliver alcohol – Oklahoma
- To allow age verification by way of biometric devices – New York
- To prohibit age verification technology at self-checkout kiosks – Mississippi
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
- To reduce the BAC limit to .05 – Hawaii, Washington, North Carolina, New York, Connecticut
Beer and/or Wine in Grocery Stores
- To allow beer and/or wine in grocery stores – Maryland, Rhode Island, New York, Minnesota (currently sell 3.2% ABV beer – the LAST STATE IN THE COUNTRY to be restricted to 3.2% beer in grocery and cstores).
Caps/Quotas on Licenses
- To increase cap on retail license ownership – Montana, New York, Georgia, Mississippi
- To change license quotas – New Jersey, Maryland (Harford County), Utah, Wyoming (already passed)
Local Delivery from Licensed Retailers
- To create a third party delivery license – Kansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Vermont, California, Oregon, South Carolina
- To repeal delivery privileges – Arkansas
Shipping from Manufacturers (Direct to Consumer Shipping / DTC)
- To allow manufacturers (either beer, wine, spirits, or a combination of the three) to ship alcohol directly to consumers – Maryland, Hawaii, New Mexico, Connecticut, New York, Texas, Delaware, Illinois
- To allow manufacturers to ship directly to consumers – Iowa (spirits), Vermont (spirits), Mississippi (wine), Oregon (beer/wine)
Retailers Buying from Retailers
- To allow on-prem retailers to buy, in limited quantities, from off-prem – New York, Oklahoma, Nebraska
- To allow happy hours and discount pricing – North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont
Non-Licensed Service of Alcohol
- To allow “service companies” (beauty salons, spas, bridal boutiques) to provide a serving of alcohol – Indiana, Montana
- To require that Narcan be kept on the premises – Tennessee
- To require that alcohol servers be trained to administer NARCAN – Texas
As the 2023 legislative sessions progress throughout the coming weeks and months, I will continue to monitor these bills and more. If you have any questions about legislation in your area, please feel free to contact [email protected]! Be sure to check our blog for more legislative updates on pending alcohol bills.