ABC changes, property rights measure pass Senate


LITTLE ROCK — The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation supported by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division that would change numerous statutes.

Senate Bill 474 by Sen. Keith Ingram, D-West Memphis, would allow for an “industry member” to donate alcohol for consumption at a charity or non-profit event that does not otherwise have a permit to dispense alcohol.

The measure also would clarify that wine may be sold at retail groceries by employees 18 years and older, and would specify the establishments in which a 19-year-old may work and lawfully serve alcohol.

The legislation would repeal the limitation on the ABC to grant a new retailer’s permit during the last 30 days of any even numbered year and prior to Jan. 15 of each odd numbered year. It would add that wholesalers of light wine may sell malt liquor, clarify the events for which a private club may advertise and stipulate that people who plead guilty or no contest to violations of a law concerning alcohol may not be employed to serve alcohol.

Elsewhere Tuesday, the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs endorsed SB 367 by Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Gravette, which would provide for compensation to private property owners whose property loses fair market value as a result of a government regulatory program.

The committee also was briefed on Senate Joint Resolution 13 by Sen. David Johnson, D-Little Rock, which would expand the time that county clerks have to check local petitions and prepare them for the ballot from 60 to 90 days to no less than 95 days and no more than 120 days.

Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot, said the committee will meet at least two more times over the next few weeks to hear presentations on the 18 separate proposed constitutional amendments filed in the Senate.

In about three weeks, the panel will then vote on which of the proposals it wants to recommend to a joint meeting with the House committee. The Legislature can refer up to three proposed constitutional ballot measures to voters in the November 2014 election.

The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee is to begin considering House joint resolutions Wednesday.