House Approves ABC Reform
Special Report - June 24, 2010
The North Carolina House overwhelmingly approved a bill to reform the State’s 75 year-old Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) system on June 22, sending the bill to the Senate for its consideration. The bill, HB 1717“Modernization of the State ABC System,” passed the House by a vote of 110 to 1 following a short time of floor debate. Sponsored by Representatives Ray Warren (D-Alexander), Larry Bell (D-Sampson), and Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland), the measure institutes a number of reforms to the ABC system, including setting limits on the salaries of local ABC board members and employees, establishing performance standards for local ABC boards, as well as setting policies to prevent nepotism, and requiring an ethics policy.
Additionally, the bill would allow counties or municipalities to hold a mixed beverage election to allow the sale of liquor by the drink without also requiring the board or municipality to approve and establish a local ABC board. Recently, the Program Evaluation Division issued a report highlighting some of the strain caused by the excessive proliferation of too many ABC stores across the state due in part to that requirement and a low voter threshold in order for counties or municipalities to hold such an election. An approved floor amendment by Rep. Warren raised the voter threshold to hold an ABC board election from 500 voters to 1,000 voters in an effort to ensure that ABC stores are only established in communities that are able to support them.
The ABC system, which governs the control of liquor sales in North Carolina, has been under fire for the past several months after allegations of misconduct by some local ABC board members, including high salaries and concerns over nepotism. The bill is the result of a study commission formed by the General Assembly earlier this year to evaluate the ABC system. You can read more about the history of HB 1717, and the proposals by the Joint Study Committee on Alcohol Beverage Control, in our previous stories.
ABC Changes Move Ahead - June 11, 2010
ABC Proposal Released - May 7, 2010
ABC Committee Floats Proposal - April 12, 2010
Alcohol Becomes Popular Topic - March 26, 2010
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