Bill to privatize liquor sales rejected by Alabama Senate committee
MONTGOMERY — SB 77, State Sen. Arthur Orr’s (R-Decatur) bill to phase in the privatization of liquor retail sales in Alabama, failed to advance from a Senate committee on Wednesday morning.
Five members of the Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development voted to give the bill a favorable report, while six opposed.
During a public hearing immediately before the vote, representatives of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board, Alabama State Employees Association and Alabama Citizens’ Action Program (ALCAP) spoke against the bill.
Orr argued that the state should not be competing against the private sector.
The bill stipulates that the ABC Board would phase out its involvement in retail sales by October 1, 2024. ABC’s non-retail functions, including regulation, would not be affected.
SB 77 also provides for severance pay, preferential treatment and other benefits for displaced ABC retail employees as authorized by the State Personnel Board.
However, two of the opponents focused on these employees losing their state jobs during their remarks to the committee.
Orr has introduced a variation of this legislation for several consecutive years, however, this year’s bill was said to be the simplest of the lot. A separate bill is expected to soon be introduced in the House that would alter the tax structure for liquor wholesale and retail.
You can read more on Orr’s reasoning here.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn