The Times office has received several comments regarding new proposed legislation to change Kansas liquor laws, by allowing grocery and convenience stores to sell adult beverages and lifting restrictions on liquor stores allowing them to sell such things as ice, mixers and snacks.
In Kansas, the only place you, the consumer, can currently purchase packaged liquor products is in a liquor store. Grocery and convenience stores in Kansas are only allowed to sell beer that’s 3.2% alcohol.
A movement, Uncork Kansas, has been formed to encourage people to contact their legislators about this issue.
According to the Uncork Kansas Web site, "Besides increasing convenience and choice, modern liquor laws will also provide a much-needed economic boost to our state. By lifting government restrictions on retail liquor sales, we’ll attract new business and stimulate free enterprise and competition.We’ll also stop dollars flowing to border states and reduce unnecessary government regulations."
Uncork Kansas organizers believe "even liquor stores can benefit from modernized liquor laws, as they have in other states. They will be able to sell food items previously prohibited. That will allow them to expand and grow."
Kansas liquor laws date back to 1881 during prohibition when it was the first state to constitutionally ban alcohol, statewide. The complete ban remained in effect until 1948, the longest of any state. Since then there have only been minor changes to the law leaving Kansas with one of the most antiquated liquor laws in the country.
On March 18, the House Commerce Committee voted to table HB 2206.
With this action, Uncork Kansas is continuing to encourage people to talk to their representatives.
They state, "We’re committed to continuing our work at the legislative level to enact a law that would finally let consumers decide where they purchase legal alcohol products."
Letters to the editor
Freedom of choice
As Americans, freedom of choice is a principle value. Too often, lawmakers make decisions that infringe on our basic rights. This has been true in Kansas for the past 60 years as the law has dictated only a liquor store can sell of-age patrons legal adult beverages.
El Dorado's Representative Will Carpenter and Wichita area representatives Brandon Whipple and Steve Brunk recently voted in the Commerce Committee to deny constituents and Kansans a choice in where we purchase beer and wine. It was a disappointing vote and one that doesn't reflect a commitment to free market principles or a respect for what consumers want: a choice.
Page 2 of 3 - Sincerely,
- Barb Ratcliff, Augusta
Allow beer and wine sales in grocery and convenience stores
Proponents for the sale of beer and wine in grocery and liquor stores are many, but area legislators have tuned out the voices of the many to protect the few: liquor stores who don't want to adapt or change (as every other American business must constantly do) and want their monopoly preserved at the expense of the Kansas consumer.
Wichita and El Dorado representatives Brandon Whipple, Steve Brunk and Will Carpenter voted to table HB 2206, effectively killing the bill that would finally allow grocery and convenience stores to sell beer and wine.
We've been operating under Prohibition era laws for more than 60 years. It's disappointing to have our elected leaders voting to keep such restrictive laws in place. As responsible consumers of a legal product, Kansans should be able to decide where to purchase beer and wine. We don't need the government making that choice for us.
- Stephanie Walker, Leon
Disappointed with representatives
It was very disappointing to know area representatives Will Carpenter, Brandon Whipple and Steve Brunk voted against a bill to allow beer and wine sales in grocery and convenience stores. Kansas legislators shouldn't be making choices for consumers about where we purchase legal products.
Liquor stores enjoy a government-mandated monopoly today and we're long overdue to end this unfair protection. Consumers - the constituents of elected officials - benefit in a competitive market. It's time to let customers choose where they want to buy their alcohol, a freedom allowed in 36 other states where liquor stores, grocery stores and convenience stores all sell beer and wine.
Why not in Kansas too? Because area legislators voted against the bill that would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell beer and wine.
- Larry Ricker, El Dorado
A law in Kansas prevents me from buying wine and full-strength beer when I am shopping for groceries. This is an outdated restriction that Uncork Kansas is trying to change and I support this effort. Residents in nearly every other state can purchase alcohol and food at the same store, it's a convenience we all deserve as busy consumers.
I support this proposed change to the law and I hope our state lawmakers do the same.
Page 3 of 3 - Uncork Kansas!
- Tiffany Joyner, El Dorado