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Idaho House votes to repeal law that bans alcohol sales during obscene films

Idaho House votes to repeal law that bans alcohol sales during obscene films

Dustin Hurst
March 10, 2016
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March 10, 2016

The Idaho House voted unanimously Thursday to repeal a law that prohibits liquor and alcohol sales during obscene films.

On a 68 to 0 tally, House members voted to send the bill to the Senate, a step toward ending a potentially costly lawsuit against the state.

The bill came about after two Idaho State Police officers ticketed The Village in Meridian in January for serving alcohol during a showing of 50 Shades of Grey. The ISP officers also threatened to pull the theater’s liquor license.

Idaho code presently bans liquor license holders like The Village from serving alcohol during obscene films, regardless of the movie’s rating.

The Village sued the state, arguing that the regulation violates the company’s First Amendment rights because the rule uses a liquor license to impose the movie ban.

House floor sponsor Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, told his colleagues that though the bill might make some uncomfortable, it protects the Constitution.

“I think it’s very important to keep the constitution front and center,” Palmer said.

Idaho theaters have dealt with this law before. In 2013, The Flicks in Boise, which serves alcohol during movies, declined to show Blue is the Warmest Color because a steamy sex scene in the film would have placed the business in conflict with the quirky state law.

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