Oklahoma SQ 792: Alcohol sales

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Oklahoma State Question 792 is a legislative referendum to amend the State Constitution. It would repeal almost all of Article XXVIII (all but the section that repealed article XXVII) and replace it with a new and much longer Article XXVIII A. Click the link to read the complete text of the new amendment. See for yourself how ridiculously complicated it is. It goes into great detail about the permitted relationships between wholesalers and retailers. It writes into the state constitution provisions that properly belong, in statute if anywhere. Some who have analyzed the bill say that it unduly favors out-of-state supermarket chains at the expense of locally-owned businesses and large breweries at the expense of small.

I would love to see our state's liquor laws simplified and made rational. It has never made sense to me that you can buy shots of tequila at a bar at 1:30 a.m. (to be followed by a shaky drive home), but you cannot, at that same hour, buy a bottle of wine to drink safely at home. It doesn't make sense that there has to be a middleman -- a wholesale distributor -- in between the makers of beer, wine, and spirits and the retailer or consumer. I like Fat Tire beer and would love to be able to buy it in Oklahoma. If liquor stores can import beer from Belgium and Japan in Oklahoma, why can't retailers import Yuengling from Pennsylvania?

If you take nothing else from this article, realize that the changes won't go into effect until October 1, 2018. You will have to wait almost two years to buy strong beer and wine at QT.

You may as well wait a few weeks more to get the right kind of change -- a change that would clear away the existing constitutional amendment and replace it with the minimum necessary language to set the extent to which the state, counties, and municipalities can regulate the sale of alcohol. Leave the rest to statute. (Even things like drinking age and hours of operation.) If SQ 792 fails, we can vote on a cleaner question in November of 2018 and have it go into immediate effect. In the meantime, the legislature can cue up any statutory language that we'd want to have in place when the old amendment is cleared away.

I urge you to vote NO -- AGAINST SQ 792.

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For your convenience, here is a summary of my recommendations for the seven state questions on the 2016 Oklahoma general election ballot. The descriptions are not meant to make my entire argument in three words; they simply serve as a reminder of the ... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 3, 2016 1:33 PM.

Oklahoma SQ 781: County Community Safety Investment Fund was the previous entry in this blog.

2016 Oklahoma state question summary is the next entry in this blog.

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