Colorado Beer and Wine Sales Initiative (2010)

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A Colorado Beer and Wine Sales Initiative did not appear on the 2010 ballot in Colorado as an initiated state statute. The measure was also known as Initiatives 29 and 48.[1] According to the submitted proposal, Initiative 48, grocery and convenience stores would have been allowed to set aside floor space for beer and wine sales.[2] At the time, state law only allowed the sale of reduced-strength beer. According to the first proposal, Initiative 29, grocery stores would have been allowed to only designate 5% of their floor space for liquor sales.[3] [4]

In mid-July 2010, supporters announced they dropped their efforts to qualify the proposed initiative for the 2010 ballot.[5] 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.[6]

Background

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.[7] Another bill was proposed in 2010 but it died in committee after failing to garner sufficient votes.

Support

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.[2]

  • 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."[8]
  • 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."[9]
  • Diane Mulligan, spokeswoman for Fair Market Coalition, argued that consumers had been requesting alcohol products in grocery stores for years.[9]

Opposition

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.[2]

  • 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."[8]
  • Ron Vaugh, co-owner of Argonaut Wine & Liquor argued, "All Colorado liquor businesses will suffer if [the bill] is passed."[9]

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.[10]

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."[11] In mid-July, supporters announced that efforts to qualify the measure had been dropped.[5]

Related bill

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.[12][13]

The bill was sponsored by Representatives Liane McFayden, David Balmer, Edward Casso, John Pommer and Sen. Suzanne Williams.

The proposed legislation can be found here.

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.[14] "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.[15][16]

See also

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References

  1. The Denver Post,"Ballot initiative submitted to allow beer, wine sales in grocery stores," November 20, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Denver Business Journal,"Attorney tries Colorado ballot measure on beer sales," March 11, 2010
  3. Denver Business Journal,"Ballot measure would let Colorado groceries sell wine, full-strength beer," November 20, 2009
  4. Examiner,"Booze in grocery stores takes a step forward," November 20, 2009
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Denver Daily News,"Booze initiatives go flat: Initiatives permitting full-strength alcohol in grocery stores canned," July 13, 2010
  6. Denver Business Journal,"Grocery-liquor measure won’t get to Colorado ballot," July 13, 2010
  7. Denver Daily News,"Beer, Wine on Ballot?," November 20, 2009
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Denver Post,"Initiatives push to get pot, liquor on ballots," March 12, 2010
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The Denver Daily,"Getting groceries, alcohol in same place?," March 24, 2010
  10. 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.
  11. The Denver Post,"Colorado grocery-liquor bill iced," May 6, 2010
  12. 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
  13. State Bill Colorado,"HB10-1279: Getting Groceries, Alcohol in Same Place?," March 24, 2010
  14. The Denver Post - The Spot,"Booze bill booted at sponsor’s request," May 5, 2010
  15. Denver Business Journal,"Bill to let Colorado grocers sell liquor pulled; fight likely moves to ballot," May 5, 2010
  16. The Durango Herald,"Legislative liquor wars end quietly," May 6, 2010