Senate to Hold Hearing on ‘Alcohol Czar’ Legislation

Thursday, February 15, 2018 | by Andrew Beckett l WRN |

(WRN) -- A state Senate committee is scheduled to hold a hearing today on a bill that would toughen enforcement of the state’s liquor laws.

The proposal from Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) would create a new state office to enforce liquor laws. It would also allow the Kohler American Resort to more easily market and sell brandy it distills.

The measure is similar to one that was discussed last summer during state budget negotiations, which was ultimately dropped amid push back from the beer industry. The idea in its current has so far received a rather tepid response from Governor Scott Walker as well, who indicated Wednesday it is not a priority for him. “I don’t know how far it’s gonna go,” Walker told reporters at the Capitol.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos this week also downplayed the chances of his chamber taking it up before the session ends. “Could be a big lift,” Vos said…echoing comments Fitzgerald has made about bills the Assembly has been pushing to pass in the final days of the session that may face trouble building support in the Senate.

Brewery owners around the state have already come out against the current bill, arguing sweeping changes to the industry should not be rushed through at the last minute. In a letter sent to lawmakers this week, MillerCoors called the proposal a “flawed solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist.”

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