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Friday, July 17, 2015

UPDATE - More Happy Hour News!

A very astute reader pointed out that the General Assembly passed an immediate amendment to Public Act 99-46 (Public Act 99-47) removing the local government authority to grant exceptions to church/school locational restrictions.  So, I'm reposting this story - thank you Mark Palmer! For an even more in depth analysis of the happy hour law, visit Mark's blog at: Travelblawg

It's Friday, so what could be more appropriate than a "happy hour" blog post?

In an earlier post from June 4, 2015, we presented a summary of the changes to the Liquor Control Act that relaxed the prohibition against happy hours.  Now that Public Act 99-46 (and its companion amendment 99-47) has become law and we have had more time to pour over the amendments, we can explain the other, less publicized, changes the General Assembly has made.

1)  Hotels:  The State will begin issuing a single liquor license for all premises from which a hotel sells alcoholic beverages (e.g. lounges, restaurants, room service, mini-bars) so long as they are all under common ownership.  Formerly, a separate state license was required for each place alcohol was available.  Local governments are not required to operate the same way, but you should expect the local hotels to ask.  This would reduce your local licensing revenue by eliminating a number of licenses.

2)  Sales near Churches/Schools:  The State has granted local governments the ability to exercise control over whether this prohibition should apply on a case-by-case basis.  UPDATED: This portion of the new law was immediately stricken by a subsequent law (Public Act 99-47).

3)  Infusions:  Bars may now sell homemade alcoholic beverages created by “infusing” natural flavors into spirits.  For example, a bar could open and mix several bottles of vodka with fruit, age it for up to 14 days, and sell it by the glass for up to 21 days.  While the ingredients need to be labeled, the proof does not need to be identified.  Talk about happy hour!

4)  Basset Training:  In all the collar counties, all servers are now required to obtain a Basset training certificate by July 1, 2016, or within 120 days of the first day of work, whichever is later.  Smaller counties (pop. < 200,000) have until 2017.  A Basset training certificate is transferable with the employee between restaurants, but cannot be transferred between employees.

Each local government should be familiar with these amendments and decide whether it wishes to modify its local liquor control ordinances in response.

Post Authored by Adam Simon, Ancel Glink


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