Colorado Beer and Wine Sales Initiative (2010)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
In mid-July 2010, supporters announced they dropped their efforts to qualify the proposed initiative for the 2010 ballot. Blake Harrison, a sponsor of the measure, said on July 13 that he plans to propose a bill through the General Assembly. If that effort fails, he plans to propose a ballot measure for 2012, which he said is expected to have a higher voter turnout than 2010.
In the past, two similar bills were shot down. In 2008, a legislative proposal died in committee after a 5-1 Senate Finance Committee vote. The measure was opposed by liquor-store owners who argued the bill would severely impact their businesses. In 2008, however, the general assembly passed a law to allow Sunday liquor sales. In 2009, Rep. Liane "Buffie" McFayden attempted to pass a similar bill but it was defeated in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee. Another bill was proposed in 2010 but it died in committee after failing to garner sufficient votes.
The measure was supported by the Colorado Retail Council, which represented chain grocery and convenience stores, and the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, which represented locally owned convenience stores.
- Doug Friednash, a Denver lawyer who drafted the proposal, said, "They've been working for years now to come up with a legislative solution and believe voters will support a revamping of the Colorado liquor codes, which are primitive. This is excellent for consumers."
- Blake Harrison, the initiative's proponent and candidate for House District 8, said, "It’s super inconvenient to have to go to two different stores. This will be really good for the consumer."
- Diane Mulligan, spokeswoman for Fair Market Coalition, argued that consumers had been requesting alcohol products in grocery stores for years.
Opponents argued that the current state laws led to the growth of local breweries, wineries and distilleries. Additionally, they argued that polling revealed that more than 60 percent of state residents disapprove of the idea - selling full strength alcohol in grocery stores.
- Ben Davis, spokesperson for the Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, said, "Coloradans don't support this idea at the legislature or at the ballot box because it puts our kids at risk and kills jobs, all to increase profits for a bunch of out-of-state corporations."
- Ron Vaugh, co-owner of Argonaut Wine & Liquor argued, "All Colorado liquor businesses will suffer if [the bill] is passed."
Path to the ballot
- See also: Colorado signature requirements
In order to place the proposed measure on the ballot, supporters were required to collect a minimum of 76,047 valid signatures. The signature filing deadline for the 2010 ballot in Colorado for initiated state statutes was July 12, 2010.
According to May reports, supporters said they wouldn't be able to acquire the needed signatures without the aid of "still-undecided grocers and the business community." In mid-July, supporters announced that efforts to qualify the measure had been dropped.
HB 1279 would have allowed grocery stores that earned at least 51 percent of their revenue from food sales to purchase liquor stores within 1,000 feet. Such stores would then have been allowed to sell full-strength beer, wine and liquor but were required have a separate entrance from the grocery store. At the time, grocery store chains were only allowed to sell full-strength liquor in only one of its locations.
Bill dies in committee
In early May 2010 Rep. Liane (Buffie) McFayden said she didn't have the votes to pass HB 1279 and asked the House Finance Committee to kill the bill. According to reports, McFayden spent the last few months negotiating with lawmakers. However, McFayden said she was confident a "Beer and Wine Sales Initiative" would appear on the ballot for voters to decide. "I believe that the status quo and the amount of lobbying by liquor stores certainly surpassed the amount of lobbying by grocery stores. What I find disappointing is that since we haven’t been able to get legislation passed, I’m sure something will end up on the ballot this year," she said.
- Uncertainty clouds Colorado's 2010 signature deadline
- Colorado grocery beer and wine sales bill dies, debate continues
- Beer and wine grocery sales may be on Colorado ballot
- NACS Online, "Colorado Lawyer Submits New Ballot Initiative on Beer, Wine Sales," March 15, 2010
- Durango Herald News, "Grocery store beer, wine question may go to voters," December 2, 2009
- The Denver Post, "Ballot initiative submitted to allow beer, wine sales in grocery stores," November 20, 2009
- Denver Business Journal, "Attorney tries Colorado ballot measure on beer sales," March 11, 2010
- Denver Business Journal, "Ballot measure would let Colorado groceries sell wine, full-strength beer," November 20, 2009
- Examiner, "Booze in grocery stores takes a step forward," November 20, 2009
- The Denver Daily News, "Booze initiatives go flat: Initiatives permitting full-strength alcohol in grocery stores canned," July 13, 2010
- Denver Business Journal, "Grocery-liquor measure won’t get to Colorado ballot," July 13, 2010
- Denver Daily News, "Beer, Wine on Ballot?," November 20, 2009
- The Denver Post, "Initiatives push to get pot, liquor on ballots," March 12, 2010
- The Denver Daily, "Getting groceries, alcohol in same place?," March 24, 2010
- Prior to the enactment of Colorado House Bill 1326 (2009), the signature deadline for initiated statutes and initiated amendments was the same--3 months before the election.
- The Denver Post, "Colorado grocery-liquor bill iced," May 6, 2010
- The Denver Daily News, "Backdoor to grocer booze? Bill would allow supermarkets to purchase liquor stores to sell beer, wine and liquor," March 1, 2010
- State Bill Colorado, "HB10-1279: Getting Groceries, Alcohol in Same Place?," March 24, 2010
- The Denver Post - The Spot, "Booze bill booted at sponsor’s request," May 5, 2010
- Denver Business Journal, "Bill to let Colorado grocers sell liquor pulled; fight likely moves to ballot," May 5, 2010
- The Durango Herald, "Legislative liquor wars end quietly," May 6, 2010
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