Task Force Created to Reform Alcohol Laws

Jul 19, 2012

FRANKFORT – Citing concerns that alcoholic beverage laws in Kentucky are outdated and sometimes contradictory, Gov. Steve Beshear has announced the creation of the Governor’s Task Force on the Study of Kentucky’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Laws.

“Many groups, including licensees, state regulators, law enforcement and private citizens have called for statutory reform of our alcoholic beverage laws. They agree that Kentucky’s current laws do not adequately account for a 21st-century economy and standard of law,” Beshear said in a statement released by his office. “A task force that includes members from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and professions is best suited to identify the problems, debate policy and make recommendations for improvements.”

Today, Kentucky has more than 13,000 licenses issued to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for alcoholic beverages, with more than 70 different license types to regulate those operations. These businesses not only generate millions of dollars for the Kentucky economy every year but also attract tourists.

Specifically, the task force will conduct a focused study and review of the laws with an emphasis on the following:

· The number and types of alcohol licenses issued by the state and what activities each license should authorize;

· The effectiveness of local option election laws in achieving their goals and representing the interests of the various voting localities; and

· The enhancement of public safety and compliance with regulatory requirements.

The 20-member task force will consist of government officials and one representative from each of the following Kentucky organizations: Mothers against Drunk Driving; Kentucky Association of Counties; Kentucky League of Cities; the Liquor Retail Coalition; the Restaurant Association; Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Inc.; the Distillers’ Association; the Vineyard Society; Beer Wholesalers’ Association; Malt Beverage Council; and a representative from a licensed microbrewery.

Public Protection Cabinet Secretary Bob Vance will serve as chair of the task force. The group will hold three statewide forums to collect comments from the public. A report with recommendations is due to the governor in January.