The Illinois Legislature adjourned today and the final actions were taken on liquor bills for this session.
Here is a final synopsis of important liquor bills and their fate.
A Governor’s veto is unlikely, so barring the unforeseen, these should be law within 60 days.
1. SB2286-Self Distribution exception for craft distillers
–Did not pass
The Wine and Spirits Distributors were strongly against this bill and won, but the fight may not end with this session.
With craft brewers and wineries enjoying self-distribution privileges that craft distillers don’t enjoy, does the lack of parity argument become a strong reason for future passage? Or is the argument that spirits are a more potent form of alcohol and hence require more control win out?
Stay tuned this may be a reoccurring issue for years to come!
2. HB4897-Expanding the market for breweries and expanding the beer offering at breweries
This bill expands the offerings available at a brewery. Previously, a brewer could only offer their own products, this bill allows a brewer to maintain guest taps within their brewery.
3. SB2436-Allows the local government to make their own licensing decisions
Surprise, Surprise! The fairy dust must have settled upon Springfield, a budget passed and now one of the most contentious liquor issues is off the table. Previously, any Chicago business was prohibited from selling within 100 feet of a church, school, hospital, home for the aged or home for veterans, unless they obtained a specific statutory state exemption from the prohibition. This required businesses to spend money lobbying and wait sometimes up to a year to get the exemption through legislation.
The bill allows Chicago to pass an ordinance allowing for an exemption to the 100-foot rule and hence allows the business to bypass the state legislative burden.
One important caveat however, the language granting local powers was once part of the statute and then later stricken, will history repeat itself, only time will tell!
4. SB3019-Changes to the importation in bulk practices, changes in signage requirements
The bill essentially bans the present practice of importation in bulk by mandating that a manufacturer must comply with tax and compliance provisions before importing or transferring beer into the state.
The dollar limits for signage are changed.
5. SB3022-Reorganization of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission
The Illinois Liquor Control Commission will split from the Illinois Department of Revenue effective July 1, 2019.
Also, there were two compliance provisions with this legislation.
First, any notice of violation must include photographs, field reports or other supporting documentation. If these items are not included, the violation will result in dismissal.
Second, a Non-Resident dealer must complete a registration form that appoints its distributor.
6. HB4987-Increase the liquor limits for craft distiller tasting rooms and allows the sale of other alcoholic liquor in these tasting rooms
–Did not pass
This bill did not pass; however, I think it is a matter of time before it passes. With craft brewers being able to expand its offerings, it seems logical to extend these privileges to the craft distillers. Look for this bill to gain steam next session.
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