A companion bill has been filed in the Illinois House, mirroring the legislation introduced a week-and-a-half ago in the Illinois Senate.
Neither bill has been assigned to a committee.
A group of lawmakers in the Illinois Senate is responding to the Halloween day ruling by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission allowing Anheuser-Busch, through a wholly owned subsidiary, to retain an interest in an Illinois distributor.
The surprise ruling, ending a years-long dispute over whether a brewer can own an interest in a distributor in Illinois, caused an uproar amongst distributor groups in Illinois who felt the Commission ignored the legislative intent of a bill that become law in 2011.
You can catch up on our past coverage HERE.
The lawmakers, led by beer-friendly Chicago Democrat, State Senator Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) have introduced SB 1855 which appears to clearly spell out who can and who cannot own an interest in an Illinois wholesaler.
“We need to keep brewing and distributing liquor separate in Illinois,” said Munoz. “If this rule stands, we are hurting small business within our state, putting small brewers at a disadvantage, and giving special privileges to companies who reside outside of Illinois.”
The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois backs Munoz’s legislation and has been a consistent, vocal opponent of AB’s minority interest in distributor City Beverage; which has locations in Arlington Heights, Bloomington, Chicago and Markham.
“The Commission’s October 31, 2012, Order created public policy contrary to the public policy created by the General Assembly when passing SB 754,” said ABDI President Bill Olson. “The introduction of SB 1855 is the General Assembly’s response to the Commission ignoring the General Assembly’s legislative intent in passing SB 754, that no brewer, large or small, can hold a distributorship license or any interest in a distributorship.”
Here’s a synopsis of the legislation:
Amends the Liquor Control Act of 1934. Provides that no person licensed as a manufacturer of beer by any licensing authority, or any partnership, corporation, subsidiary, limited liability company, trust, agent, affiliate, or other form of business enterprise thereof, shall have any interest, directly or indirectly, in a holder of a distributor’s license or importing distributor’s license. Provides that the Illinois Liquor Control Commission shall notify all persons licensed by the State Commission as a manufacturer of beer, brewer, or non-resident dealer of the required written disclosures prescribed by the Commission. Provides a process for revocation of licenses for violation of these provisions. Defines “Person” for the purposes of the Act. Effective immediately.
While Munoz is the chief sponsor, four other lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors of the now bi-partisan legislation: State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan), State Senator Kirk Dillard (R-Hindsdale), State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) and State Senator Dale Righter (R-Mattoon).
The bill was officially filed today and has not yet been assigned to a committee.