Bill Description: Senate Bill 1046 would create a carve-out in Idaho's liquor laws in response to a dispute a golf course is having with ISP over enforcing these laws.
Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?
Idaho's liquor laws are illogical and discriminatory, creating a significant impediment to market entry and unnecessarily limiting access to both providers and consumers. The regulatory system should be abolished and replaced with a simple, straightforward, and unlimited licensing system that is low-cost, free of geographical restrictions, and open to all applicants.
In one case, a golf course has had an ongoing dispute with Idaho State Police over enforcing these laws. Rather than broadly clarifying that a liquor license for a parcel of land also applies to nearby buildings owned or leased by the same entity, Senate Bill 1046 would amend Section 23-903, Idaho Code, to add an incredibly specific carve-out to address this one situation.
It would say, "Provided, a building that is located on a lake of not less than one hundred sixty (160) acres with not less than two hundred (200) feet of lake frontage, owned or leased and operated exclusively by an actual bona fide golf course licensed for the sale of liquor by the drink, as otherwise defined in this subsection, located not more than five tenths (.5) of a mile from the golf course exterior boundaries, and accessible by that golf course by private or public roadway or right-of-way shall be deemed part of and contiguous to the licensed golf course premises for purposes of the sale of liquor by the drink upon such premises."
There is no compelling government reason to limit this exemption to golf courses on a lake with specific amounts of acreage. This bill is written as special interest legislation, and unnecessarily so.
Rather than adding another niche carve-out to the law in response to a dispute, Idaho's liquor laws should be revised to promote free-market commerce and remove barriers to entry into the market. In the case of this issue, it would be easy to solve the golf course's problem without writing legislation exclusive to the golf course.
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