Lawmakers reject expanding full-strength beer sales

April 11, 2011

DENVER -- A bill that would have allowed convenience stores and supermarkets to sell full-strength beer was killed Monday when 12 Republicans joined with a number of Democrats to defeat it.

Though its sponsor, Rep. Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs, said the bill would create jobs and market competition, opponents said it would do the exact opposite by bankrupting independent liquor stores.

“Big business has no business driving small business out of business,” said Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver.

Liston said the idea that liquor stores would be driven out of business is a “myth that’s been promoted by the liquor stores.”

Liston tried desperately to amend the bill to make it more palatable to opponents by restricting sales in various ways and giving incentives to liquor stores, but his efforts were in vain.

He even tried to amend it to put a question on the ballot to ask voters if they want to allow grocery stores and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer, but that only angered several of the bill’s supporters. Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, said the legislature shouldn’t be “chickens” by skipping out on their duty to govern.

The issue isn’t necessarily dead. Liston said he’s considering getting the question on the ballot through the petition process.

“I have no doubt the people would support it,” Liston said. “I think it would be a slam dunk.”

Read more legislative news at Second Reading.




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