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Eye On Boise

Senate panel OKs special liquor license for Caldwell Night Rodeo

The Senate State Affairs Committee has approved SB 1074, legislation from Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, to allow a special liquor license for the Caldwell Night Rodeo. The rodeo has long had a beer and wine license and has sold liquor through a catering permit from a local restaurant, but this year, the state Alcohol Beverage Control office advised it that that was not proper procedure. State law already permits a special liquor license to be issued to a professional “equestrian facility” of 40 acres outside a city, with at least 6,000 seats and at least three days a year of professionally sanctioned rodeo; the bill modifies that to 25 acres inside or outside a city.

Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said, “I’ve attended many a rodeo there, particularly at the old fairgrounds. … I do remember when there were some times with people drinking and fighting. … But that still doesn’t take away from I think what is a tradition in their community, what is a wonderful contribution to their economy.” He said, “Even though I’m not a real fan of the issues of public drinking and the social costs of those, I probably am going to support this for the benefit of the community.”

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration; it would provide the Caldwell Night Rodeo with the same type of non-transferable liquor license state law allows for golf courses and ski resorts. The law also provides for an array of other types of special licenses; otherwise, liquor licenses in Idaho are available only inside cities through a formula based on population. Other special licenses cover airport restaurants, convention centers, historic bars, certain lakefront bed-and-breakfast facilities, and gondola resort complexes. Several years ago, Gov. Butch Otter proposed a sweeping reform of Idaho's system for allocating liquor-by-the-drink licenses, but lawmakers rejected it.

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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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