The Senate has taken a giant step forward by promoting further discussions by all stakeholders on legislation to modernize Oklahoma’s archaic and uncompetitive laws regulating alcohol sales. Senate Bill 383, by Sen. Stephanie Bice, began as an effort to give liquor stores the option of selling refrigerated beer. Bice, R-Oklahoma City, said since that time, the focus of the legislation has changed.
“Oklahoma’s alcohol laws were created more than 50 years ago after the repeal of prohibition. If you change one area of those laws, it may inadvertently affect another area. But I continue to hear from Oklahoma consumers who are frustrated with the current restrictions that they see as outdated,” Bice said. “So we’ve removed the title from Senate Bill 383, and the idea is that it will become a measure to let the citizens of this state decide whether they want to keep Oklahoma’s alcohol laws as they are, or modernize them.”
Oklahoma is one of only five states where 3.2 beer is still sold, although in another of those states, Kansas, efforts are underway to modernize their liquor laws.
“I think it is important to bring everyone to the table, from wineries, breweries, grocery and convenience stores, retail liquor store owners and distributors as we develop this proposal, and that’s what we will be working on in the weeks and months to come,” Bice said.
SB 383 was approved by the Senate on Wednesday 38 to 10. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives.