Bill description: SB 1364 would establish a new category of liquor license for hotels.
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?
SB 1364 would create a new category of liquor license, one specifically for hotels. This new license grants hotels an ability that they do not currently have. Under this license, hotels could sell liquor in minibars, lounges, and other hotel areas. Currently they are able to sell alcohol at a hotel restaurant, under a separate license.
To acquire this new license, hotels would have to pay a fee that depends on the size of the county they are located in:
If in a county of less than 20,000 then they pay $400
If in a county of 20,000 - 40,000 then they pay $600
If in a county of more than 40,000 people then they pay $800
Though this bill expands activity in the free market, it does so only for a very specific group of hotels — large, modern ones. It uses an unnecessarily specific definition of what qualifies as a “hotel,” which will leave out many small hotels.
To meet the definition under this bill, a hotel would have to have more than 75 rooms and 1,5000 square feet of meeting space. It would also have to have a commercial kitchen with a “type 1 commercial hood and cooking equipment.”
Under this bill, a large hotel would likely qualify for this new liquor license, but other, smaller hotels would not. This will clearly have an influence on the free market, giving larger hotels an advantage over smaller ones based on their expanded ability to sell liquor.
Analyst’s Note: Some bills are written so specifically that they just do not make sense. This is one of them. If the intent of this bill is truly as described, which is to sell liquor in an expanded number of hotel areas like a mini-bar and hotel lounge, it should not matter how large the hotel is. This bill, as currently written, gives a clear advantage to large hotels over small ones, when it could just as easily be written to apply to any size of hotel.
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