SB 1160, the budget for the state’s Liquor Division, has passed the House on a 36-29 vote. Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, noted that the budget includes no state general tax funds and reflects a 1.2 percent increase over this year’s level; it includes funds to relocated and expand five existing liquor stores, and to expand hours at stores in Boise to make them uniform, and at stores in Stateline and Kellogg, to allow for Sunday hours.
Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, asked, “Why, in an appropriations bill, are we allowing for the sale of liquor on a Sunday?” Eskridge responded, “We went through a lengthy debate on this several years ago. It’s a matter of convenience for people in our resort areas primarily to be able to do business with the liquor store on Sunday. I have to tell you I debated against that ... when we first looked at it, but looking back on it, it’s been a success in terms of accommodating the general public and especially our outside visitors from outside the state who use our ski areas and other resort facilities.”
No one debated against the budget bill, but the number of “no” votes was high. Among those voting no was Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, whose area would get Sunday hours at the Kellogg state liquor store under the bill. The budget bill now goes to the governor’s desk.