Kentucky legislators are still seeking a new state liquor law, a leading lawmaker says. If they don't, a bottle of bourbon may be as close as the corner gas station. Last year, a federal judge threw out Kentucky laws that don’t allow groceries and gas stations to sell wine or hard spirits, saying it was unfair. Kentucky pharmacies — which often sell grocery items — can sell the hard stuff.
That same judge stayed his ruling — and headed-off a liquor free-for-all — to allow the General Assembly to re-write the law. So far, no coalition has brought a proposal to would fit the judge’s ruling, House Speaker Greg Stumbo says.
“Everyone hopes that there will be some sort of reasonable proposal from the entire industry that takes in consideration the court’s ruling," Stumbo says.
"To date I haven’t seen that. What I have seen is a proposal that I believe flies in the face of what the court’s judgment was. And I’ve told the proponents of that so. I believe what the judge said was there has to be a uniform law that everybody of this class is covered by.”
Stumbo says he interprets the court’s ruling as a desire for a uniform law for groceries and pharmacies, which are classified under similar liquor laws. Lawmakers will have to achieve such a law in the 2013 session or the judge will put his ruling into effect, which would instantly allow gas stations and grocery stores to sell other alcoholic beverages beyond beer.