Lisette Barnes Crafts Op-Ed for Oklahoma Beer Alliance
To encourage support for the passage of Oklahoma State Question 792, Lisette Barnes wrote an opinion editorial on behalf of the Oklahoma Beer Alliance which was published in newspapers across the state of Oklahoma. Outlining the solutions that passage of SQ792 would provide to current problems in the beer industry, Lisette’s editorial provides real examples of the benefit to consumers and businesses in Oklahoma.
Vote Yes on Ok State Question 792
Oklahoma’s beer laws have gone unchanged since 1959. While these laws may have worked then, they create problems for Oklahoma’s residents, businesses and economy today. Current laws are not convenient, place unnecessary restrictions on businesses, do not sufficiently address underage access to alcohol and drunk driving, and are difficult for the legislature to adjust for the public’s safety.
Beer modernization, through State Question 792 and its companion bill SB 383, provides solutions to these problems.
Currently, consumers have to go to multiple stores or locations to get the beer they want. Additionally, there are certain full-strength beer brands that are not available in Oklahoma because they require specific temperature settings and liquor stores are not allowed to refrigerate the beer they sell. Beer modernization solves both of these problems by allowing grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer and liquor stores to refrigerate their beer.
Oklahoma’s 57-year-old beer laws restrict businesses to operate and grow freely. Beer modernization removes these restrictions and allows businesses to operate in a free market. This not only benefits retailers but the entire Oklahoma beer industry, which currently provides more than 8,000 jobs and is expected to grow due to beer modernization laws. In addition, beer modernization would not take effect until October 1, 2018. This timeframe sets businesses up for success by allowing them enough time to prepare their operations and train their employees to implement modernization the right way.
No matter where you are in the United States, underage drinking and access are always a concern. Beer modernization through SQ 792 and its companion bill SB 383 provides rules and regulations that govern the sale of alcohol and promote safety and responsibility.
For example, grocery and convenience store clerks would have to be 18 years old to sell alcohol, as opposed to current laws which only require clerks to be 16 years old. Anyone selling alcohol must also receive a license and special training from the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission. The training would teach clerks to spot fake IDs and when to not sell to an intoxicated person. If a clerk is caught selling to an underage individual, the ABLE Commission could take away their license and fine the clerk.
In addition, if beer modernization is passed, the state’s alcohol laws will be in the state statutes rather than the constitution. This is an important distinction because statues are easier for legislators to change than constitutional laws. Therefore, if the State Legislature sees a concern or an issue arising due to the new alcohol laws, legislators can more easily adjust the laws for quick, impactful change.
Beer modernization solves many problems created by decades-old laws. Oklahomans have an opportunity to provide solutions to these problems by voting yes for SQ 792 this November.