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Eye On Boise

Liquor license bill introduced

Here’s a news item from AP: “A push to reform Idaho’s liquor license system that now doles out permits based on population-based quotas has won a Senate hearing, but some lawmakers fear time may be running out for such a complicated — and controversial — bill. The measure, supported by Idaho Licensed Beverage Association leaders and Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, would let cities and counties issue unlimited new licenses, but only to businesses with restaurant or hotels. Owners of some 1,000 existing licenses would receive special treatment to preserve their value, like 10 percent discounts, cheaper relicensing and transferability almost anywhere in Idaho. Sen. Bart Davis, an Idaho Falls Republican, said Wednesday it’s growing late for a bill that will require much debate. What’s more, changes to the existing system could face court challenges.”

The bill was up for introduction this morning in the Senate State Affairs Committee; it’s something Otter has long wanted to accomplish. Last week, he told the Idaho Press Club that locals should make decisions about liquor licenses. “Why they should have to come to me in Boise to get a liquor license in Ketchum always escaped me,” the governor said.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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