Legislation seeking to put into law an existing quota regulation for package liquor licensing continues to move through the Kentucky general assembly. An effort to weaken the measure fell short in a House Committee Tuesday.
The legislation comes as the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control proposes lifting the population based quota. Karen Lentz with the Kentucky Association of Beverage Retailers says removing a licensing quota would change the alcohol sales landscape. “With the bulk buying power of the big chains, that these small independent retailers, they are not going to be able to compete and yes I do think that unlimited access or unlimited license will result in a total shift,” said Lentz.
Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner Christine Trout says the legislation protects a certain class of businesses in a certain region from competition. “It’s an antiquated arbitrary artificial barrier to a free market and to competition,” explained Trout.
Adam Koenig , chair of the House Licensing, Occupations and Regulations Committee was unsuccessful in amending the bill to, among other things, give more licensing authority to local governments.