Colorado's House Finance Committee voted 8-3 today to kill House Bill 1186. This is one of the two bills currently up for vote in the Legislature that could have disastrous effects on Liquor Stores.
HB 1186 was a proposal to allow convenience stores to sell full-strength beer instead of just the 3.2 that they are limited to selling now. The Sponsor of the Bill, Representative Larry Liston (R - Colorado Springs) said the bill didn't pass due to misleading arguments about the legislation.
The still pending legislation, HB 1279, is a proposal to allow grocery stores to sell liquor and full-strength beer. In addition, they would also be allowed to purchase the Liquor License of any liquor store within a 1,000 foot zone.
Convenience stores are claiming that allowing liquor stores to be open on Sundays has killed their business. Ron Vaughn, Owner of Argonaut Wine & Liquor, counters with the fact that "in essence, convenience stores have lost a staggering $8.00 since the legislation was signed opening up liquor stores to Sunday sales."
He went on to explain a little about what effect the defeated HB 1186, and the still pending HB 1279, would have on liquor stores. In his opinion, "both bills are poorly written, and not only do they threaten small business, they pose enormous safety concerns as well."
Colorado Beverage Analyst is a magazine that goes out to bar and liquor store owners and has a lot of interesting information that gives credence to Ron's statement. Every issue, there is a listing of where the liquor violations occurred in the recent weeks. The vast majority of them consistently occur in Convenience stores and Grocery stores.
Another argument against these bills is the fact that Liquor stores are required to only allow people 21 and older in through their doors. They also ensure that each person working for them has to be at least 21. Liquor laws are very strict when it comes to issues like that. However, none of those restrictions are in place for convenience stores or grocery stores. This would open up a lot of temptation for those underage to get their hands on the booze.
There are many other states that have laws similar to the proposals, and admittedly, they do open up a huge level of convenience to the consumers, but the side effect is that Colorado dollars would be sent out of state, and small business would be gravely affected.