Bill would remove salon alcohol ban

Hair salons and nail and body art studios in Nebraska could offer alcoholic beverages to customers under a bill heard Jan. 17 by the Health and Human Services Committee.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist12' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Merv Riepe'>Sen. Merv Riepe</a>
Sen. Merv Riepe

LB794, introduced by Ralston Sen. Merv Riepe, would remove a current ban on consuming, serving, possessing or distributing alcohol by entities operating under the Cosmetology, Electrology, Esthetics, Nail Technology and Body Art Practice Act.

Riepe said the state Division of Public Health had identified removal of the ban as a step that should be taken based on current industry trends. Some salons in Nebraska currently are licensed to serve alcohol in a separate area of the premises, he said, but no crossover is allowed.

Salons wishing to serve alcohol to customers must obtain a liquor license and would be regulated by the state Liquor Control Commission (LCC), Riepe said. Employees still would be prohibited from consuming alcohol.

Dr. Thomas Williams, director of the Division of Public Health and chief medical officer for the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), testified in support of LB794.

Currently, Williams said, both DHHS and the LCC have oversight of the small, separate space within licensed salons where alcohol may be served. LB794 would remove the need for DHHS oversight, he said.

In addition, Williams said, the measure would allow salons to provide alcoholic beverages to customers for special events, including holiday and bridal parties, which they currently cannot do.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill and the committee took no immediate action on it.

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