Bill would reduce special designated licenses

Certain alcohol vendors would be able to temporarily expand their operations under a bill considered Feb. 3 by the General Affairs Committee.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist37' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. John Lowe'>Sen. John Lowe</a>
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 to temporarily expand their licensed premises 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 premises 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 needs to obtain a special designated license from the state Liquor Control Commission for each event, which, Lowe said, costs time and money.

“This is burdensome for companies,” Lowe said. “LB1056 will allow companies to skip the Liquor Control Commission process.”

Hobert Rupe of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission testified in support. He said the use of SDLs has risen in recent years and in some cases the application is for a business to host an event in its parking lot.

“The main issue for the commission was trying to reduce the number of SDLs that weren’t necessary,” Rupe said.

Vanessa Silke, testifying on behalf of the Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild, also spoke in support of the bill, saying it would reduce the regulatory burden on the commission and save businesses money.

No one testified in opposition to LB1056 and the committee took no immediate action on it.

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