liquor laws

Politics
7:48 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Kentucky Lawmakers React to Ruling on Grocery Store Liquor Sales

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FRANKFORT — A federal appeals court has struck down a 2012 decision that lifted a ban on Kentucky grocery stores selling liquor and wine.

On this issue, the chatter in Frankfort suggests that a legislative challenge to that ruling, if it happens, isn’t likely to fare well.

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Local News
11:59 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Appeals Court Reinstates Ban on Liquor, Wine Sales in Kentucky Grocery Stores

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A federal appeals court has reinstated a 76-year-old old ban on grocery stores, gas stations and other retailers selling wine and liquor in Kentucky after finding the law doesn't violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a decision by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn in 2012 to lift the restriction.

Judge Deborah L. Cook wrote for the court that the state "indisputably maintains a legitimate interest" in reducing access to high-alcohol content products.

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Politics
10:41 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Eliminates 4 a.m. Alcohol Sales

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After a long and emotional debate, the Louisville Metro Council moved to outlaw alcohol purchases at retail package stores after 2 a.m. by a 15-7 vote.

The ordinance effectively eliminates special licenses allowing sales up to 4 a.m. except for bars and restaurants in an effort aimed at curbing crime and attracting economic development.

Council members kicked the measure back to committee last month over objections to an exemption that would have still allowed beer to be sold up to 4 a.m.

During the council meeting Thursday evening, the debate centered on whether to exempt businesses such as Thortons gas stations, which sell alcoholic beverages but make most of their money on other items.

A committee amendment proposed allowing retailers where non-alcoholic beverages make up less than 50 percent of their revenue to avoid the ban. But supporters of the ordinance argued that would ultimately dilute the measure.

Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, who sponsored the measure, says the concentration of liquor and convenience stores in her west Louisville district are the source of blight, crime and deter development.

"I have to leave my neighborhood to get the amenities that you enjoy every day," said Hamilton. "We can't get the businesses to locate in our neighborhoods. So we've been trying to clean up our neighborhoods and revitalize our neighborhoods. We've been investing millions of dollars block-by-block, protest letters and I don't know how much else we have to do."

Opponents of the measure included local liquor store owners and convenience chain representatives who said it was unfair to allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol after 2 a.m. They also say a liquor ban is a scapegoat and won't address the real problems in the West End or other areas.

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Politics
7:59 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Louisville Liquor Store Owners, Residents Question Beer Exemption in Banning 4 a.m. Alcohol Sales

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Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, is confident her bill eliminating alcohol sales at retail package stores after 2 a.m. will pass this week. 

The ordinance sailed through the council's Public Safety committee with a unanimous vote last Tuesday, and supporters maintain it's a way to improve quality of life in the West End.

According to city statistics, close to 70 percent of stores that carry special licenses allowing 4 a.m. liquor sales are located in west Louisville neighborhoods and the Newburg area.

Hamilton's bill does not apply to restaurants and bars. It also exempts 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. licenses for beer sales, which has been roundly criticized by liquor store owners as selective targeting and some constituents are questioning its effectiveness.

In June, a state law took effect dividing those special licenses between beer and other alcoholic beverages such as liquor and wine. Asked why the ordinance banning 4 a.m. sales doesn't include beer, Hamilton admits that would encompass a larger number of businesses outside of her district.

"If we eliminate (beer) we're dealing with 400 to 600 businesses in the city. So this is an easier bite of the apple right now," she says. "I've had people say we should have included it all. But I'm not trying to get rid of it, I'm trying to control the quality of life issues in our neighborhoods."

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News Special
6:38 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Jobs, Re-Election, Liquor Sales and Taxes

Mayor Greg Fischer
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Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer visited WFPL News for an interview Thursday. In the hourlong chat, he discussed his bid for a second term in office, the city's controversial plan to re-open a potentially dangerous jail, a recent audit of the Air Pollution Control District, an attempt in the Metro Council to restrict package liquor sales and, as always, the local option sales tax.

Here's the audio:

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Politics
2:57 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Louisville Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton Proposes Ending Liquor Sales After 2 a.m.

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, is proposing an ordinance to end alcohol sales after 2 a.m. at retail package stores as a way to help reduce crime.

But some community activists argue council members are using liquor sales as a scapegoat.

Over two-dozen liquor stores carry special licenses that allow alcohol sales up to 4 a.m., and the vast majority are concentrated in west Louisville.

The bill would exempt businesses such as bars and restaurants, and is likely to affect 24-hour convenience stores.

Hamilton did not respond to our request for comment, but one of the bill's five co-sponsors, Councilman David James, D-6, says police statistics do show a heavy concentration of crime surrounding stores that sell alcohol for extended hours.

"Eighty-nine percent of the businesses that sell alcohol in retail package form after 2 a.m. are located in west Louisville. And around those areas we have a high number of alcohol related criminal offenses," he says.

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Politics
5:18 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Bill Blocking Groceries from Selling Wine and Liquor Advances to House Floor

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A bill that would effectively block grocery stores from selling wine and liquor—and ban wine and liquor sales in new pharmacies—was approved today in a state House committee.

Under the legislation, grocery stores could still sell alcohol from an adjoined structure with a separate entrance. 

Current law does not allow people younger than 21 to enter a place which sells wine and package liquor, which has prevented sales in grocery stores in the past.

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Politics
2:22 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Spirits Sellers to Legislators: Don't Wait for Appeals Ruling For New Liquor Law

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If a federal judge's ruling goes into effect, businesses that sell liquor in Kentucky may see increased competition — and those businesses are encouraging legislators to act before an appeals  decision comes down.

Judge John Heyburn tossed the laws last year, saying it was unconstitutional to allow places like drug stores to sell some wine and liquor, but not groceries.

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Politics
7:00 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Robert Stivers: Let's Exhaust Legal Appeals Before Reforming Liquor Laws

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Work on reforming some of Kentucky’s liquor laws may wait until a federal appeals court rules on a current challenge.

A federal circuit judge threw out state laws dealing with where wine and distilled spirits can be sold, calling them unfair. Currently only select stores — such as liquor stores and pharmacies — can sell those beverages, while others — such as groceries — can only sell beer.

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Politics
7:00 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers Still Working on New Liquor Law

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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.

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