Wyo Liquor

2012 Legislative Updates

2012 Legislative Updates

2012 Wyoming Legislature: Another successful year for the WSLA!

The 2012 Legislature had plenty of excitement… but happily, everything we supported passed, and everything we opposed died. Highlights include stopping a bill that would have increased the fee on Full Retail Liquor Licenses by up to 600%, or another that would have allowed private malt beverage permittees to sell wine and alcohol.

Good bills that passed included legislation to allow Wyoming’s first distillery to sell and sample product at the site, as well as a bill that leveled the playing field between operations of cigarette machines that avoid cigarette taxes and existing private retailers.

Bills opposed by the WSLA:

House Bill 53 (Liquor licenses) would have increased the renewal fees for Full Retail Liquor Licenses from a floor of $300 to $1500 (a 400% increase), with an increase in the maximum from $1,500 to $10,500 (a 600% increase). HB 53 was killed on Introduction.

HB 67 (Limited alcoholic beverage permit) would have allowed malt beverage permits to sell wine and alcohol. Considering the hundreds (thousands?) of malt beverage permits issued, a bad idea, not just in competition with existing retailers, but in uncontrolled alcohol sales. HB 67 was killed on Introduction.

HB 111 (Alcoholic beverages – direct shipment)would have allowed wine importers to sell directly to retailers. Since this bill would have only affected “in-state” importers, it possibly would have resulted in an “anti-Commerce” lawsuit if passed. HB 111 was killed on Introduction.

Bills we supported that were signed by the Governor into law:

SF 45 (Alcoholic beverages – manufacturers), sponsored by Senator Gerald Geis (R-Worland) allowed Wyoming Whiskey to sell and sample their product at the distillery site. A compromise was reached, with Wyoming Whiskey working with the WSLA, to allow only one location (the distillery itself) with no additional satellites. The only change was an amendment to include “rectifiers,” which the WSLA supported.

SF 83 (Cigarette manufacturing) clarified that retailers who operate RYO (roll your own) cigarette machines in their establishment are manufacturers. Although this isn’t a problem in Wyoming (yet), it’s a major issue in other states… by using the machines, customers walk away with a $6 – $8 carton of cigarettes, since there is no specific cigarette tax on it, and it correspondingly has a devastating effect on existing retailers.

HB 76 (Resort liquor licenses) started out bad, but ended well. On the outset, we were opposed to the bill, since it opened the door too wide… the original bill allowed a Resort Liquor License to be issued to any business with $10 million invested and a “recreational facility”. The challenge was that “recreational facility” could be loosely defined as anything from a swimming pool to a pool table.

However, the WSLA supported a successful amendment to change “recreational facility” to “ski resort facility”… which turns out only affecting 4 or 5 licensees in the state, but was important to operators of large ski resorts without lodging properties, since they have multiple dispensing sites. With that ability, it’s not a whole lot different than what golf courses can do, so the bill passed as amended.