In 2016, the Legislature rejected a proposal from the Idaho State Police that would have imposed similar restrictions. The ISP contends that such a requirement would prevent licenses from being secured but not used. This is a concern because Idaho’s liquor license quota system limits the number of licenses available at a time. As a result, licenses routinely sell for upwards of six figures and the wait time to receive one is extensive. The stringent liquor license policy means some restaurants have struggled to stay open and others have closed completely. In recent years, lawmakers have acknowledged the need to fix the system but have been reluctant to do so.
This legislation is problematic because it takes the unusual step of dictating when a business is to be open and how much of a product is to be sold during those open hours. For some, it could create havoc for their business model. One downtown Boise nightspot, for example, is open chiefly on weekend nights, less than the 20 hours a week the new bill would require.
Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market?
This bill serves to set limits on the hours that a licensed establishment must remain open (-1) as well as the quantity of drinks that must be sold. (-1)
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