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House Bill 71 — Donation of liquor

House Bill 71 — Donation of liquor

Parrish Miller
February 2, 2021

Bill description: House Bill 71 allows for and regulates the donation of liquor for benevolent, charitable, or public purposes.

Rating: -2

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

House Bill 71 adds a new section to Idaho Code that allows the donation of "packaged, unopened, and sealed liquor to a person or nonprofit entity that has not been issued any license for the sale of alcoholic beverages in this state for benevolent, charitable, or public purposes." 

This is as it should be, for there should be no legal impediments to the donation of any property that is legal to own. 


Were the above the extent of the new language, we could endorse it without reservation. But there are additional requirements that represent unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of private entities and market participants. First, the permissions to accept a donation of liquor are restricted only to such persons or nonprofit entities that apply for and receive a permit. The requirements for obtaining this permit are numerous, onerous, and highly subjective. 

The entities that make or receive these donations face many mandates, including the requirement to disclose the names of sponsors; detail the "quantities and types of packaged, unopened, and sealed liquor products to be used at the event"; and provide "evidence that all donated liquor products have been acquired from the state liquor division." Acceptable forms of evidence are not detailed. Moreover, this requirement prevents the donation of liquor obtained from sources outside the state of Idaho, which represents a further infringement on voluntary benevolent activity.

Additionally, disclosure of the "names of the liquor manufacturer, liquor supplier, liquor supplier representative, or person from whom the liquor is to be received" is required. 

The entity that receives the donation is further required to "submit a report to the director of the Idaho state police subsequent to the benevolent, charitable, or public purpose event showing the disposition of funds from the event."

Requiring a permit to engage in victimless market activity is enough to warrant a negative rating, but the scope and breadth of the police state-style intrusion included in this RS deserves to be called out for additional scrutiny. 


Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce any taxes, fees, or other assessments?

House Bill 71 imposes a $50 fee for the issuance of the permit detailed above. The requirement to obtain a permit is objectionable. To charge for it simply adds insult to injury. 


Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

In addition to placing new regulations on the people and nonprofit entities accepting donations, House Bill 71 attempts to control the behavior of private individuals who wish to support a charity or other organization. Specifically, it says, "Should an event attendee acquire a bottle of liquor, it shall be unlawful to open or consume such liquor at the licensed premises or permitted event location."

Once a private individual acquires an item, that item is privately owned and neither the individual nor the item falls under the jurisdiction of this statute. Liquor acquired at an event is no different from liquor obtained from any other source or contained in a personal flask.


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