General Affairs

Bill to reduce special designated licenses amended, advanced

Certain alcohol vendors would be able to expand their operations temporarily under a bill that advanced from general file July 22.

Sen. John Lowe
Sen. John Lowe

LB1056, introduced by Kearney Sen. John Lowe, would allow farm wineries, craft breweries, micro-distilleries, bottle clubs or entities with a retail liquor license temporarily to expand their licensed premise to a street, parking lot or alley that is immediately adjacent to their licensed location upon approval by the appropriate local governing body.

A temporary area would be enclosed by a fence or other means, have easily identifiable entrances and exits and meet all sanitation requirements for a premise with a liquor license.

The bill would limit expansion to 15 days a year and local governing bodies could establish additional criteria.

Under current law, an establishment must obtain a special designated license from the state Liquor Control Commission for each event, which, Lowe said, costs time and money.

A General Affairs Committee amendment, adopted 40-0, would have added provisions of two additional bills: LB943, introduced by Omaha Sen. Megan Hunt, which would authorize the Nebraska Arts Council to recommend a plan to divide the state into creative districts; and LB980, introduced by Plymouth Sen. Tom Brandt, which would extend a special permit to conduct a lottery or raffle under the Nebraska Lottery and Raffle Act from three months to one year. It also would allow raffle tickets to be sold online and to be purchased with a debit card.

Brandt said the amendment would help nonprofits struggling to raise money during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This bill gets us into the 21st century by allowing payment with a debit card,” Brandt said.

Sen. Tom Briese of Albion offered an amendment that removed the provisions of Hunt’s LB943, which was amended into another bill earlier this session.

Lawmakers adopted the Briese amendment 37-0 and advanced LB1056 to select file on a 39-0 vote.

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