Friday, March 25, 2011

Updates from the Capitol: ORLA’s GA team in action

HB 3295: This bill would allow local government to close an OLCC establishment for 72 hours if officials believe that continued sales or operation is an immediate threat to public safety. At the March 14 hearing I testified alongside a couple of attorneys representing the industry that talked about the Constitutional ramifications and gave additional legal insight on the bill with case examples of how the system and OLCC currently work today. Additionally, a local owner/operator of several area restaurants talked about how this legislation could potentially harm responsible operators. My testimony pointed out all the different tools we currently have instituted that can be used to restrict and close problem establishments. This appears to be more of a communication and lack of resources problem then lack of tools. The hearing lasted close to 2 hours with opposing testimony and the bill still doesn't appear to be going anywhere in its current form but we’ll continue to keep a close eye on it.

Gift Cards: On March 17th I attended a meeting with the grocers and additional retailers regarding a bill that would require all gift cards to be reloadable and once the amount of the card got under $10 it retailers would have to give cash for the balance (an idea coming out of CA). We all voiced our opposition to this bill and explained why this is not as easy as it sounds. We will be doing the same during the hearing next for SB 756.

SB 669: ORLA testified in front of the senate business committee in favor of SB 669 which allows manufacturer or wholesaler of alcoholic liquor to sponsor time or space at venues and amphitheaters with events held on premise. The bill passed out of committee with all aye votes and should be on the floor of the senate soon.

SB 878: ORLA testified in front of the Senate Judiciary in favor of SB 878 which would clarify that servers who are checking Id's for age verification purposes do not need to be DPSST certified. Both the city of Portland and DPSST testified against the bill. There is another hearing/work session scheduled for Monday (3/28). We’re also watching closely SB 635 which deals with exempting volunteers from DPSST certification and SB 69 which allows for golf course operators with a permit to use a type of flare gun to scare away geese - the golf course operators asked for our help on this bill. SB 69 was voted out of committee and SB 635 was scheduled again for Monday.

Kara Thallon
Director of Public Affairs

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