MIRA is voicing its support for current and pending bills that affect Michigan’s convenience and fuel retailing industry
By NACS Online
The Midwest Independent Retailers Association (MIRA) applauded the Michigan House for passing Senate Bill 853, which would prevent local governments from banning or setting fees for containers like bags, cups, bottles or packaging. If signed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, the bill would take effect 90 days after its enactment.
“Having a patchwork of regulation across the state ties the hands of business owners,” said MIRA Director of Government Relations Dan Papineau. “If we want to ban plastic bags we would be better off doing it at the state level so that all retailers compete equally under the same regulations.”
MIRA also commends the Michigan House for passing SB 929, a fair and comprehensive policy that will allow all retailers the opportunity to compete on a level playing field when it comes to the sale of beer and wine. On Thursday, December 8, the House passed comprehensive reform to Michigan’s liquor code that will eliminate arbitrary criteria certain businesses must meet to sell beer and wine.
For far too long, MIRA says that Michigan’s policy on businesses eligible for an SDM license (a license that allows a business to sell beer and wine) have been unfair, unclear and anticompetitive. The reform also removes several specific carve-outs that promoted unequal treatment of some businesses.
“We believe SB 929 creates a fair and level playing field for all of our members to compete in whether they are a gas station, convenience store, supermarket, etc.,” said Papineau. “Eliminating arbitrary criteria for a gas station to meet to sell beer and wine makes sense.” He noted that by putting into place a quota for SDM licenses, similar to how off-premise licenses are handled, “we can bring fairness to the marketplace while still fostering a business environment that provides predictability and stability to an industry that sells arguably the most regulated product in Michigan.”
In addition to leveling the playing field for retailers who want to sell beer and wine, the legislation also put into place a quota system that limits the number of stores that can sell beer and wine. The quota will raise as the populations of local governments increase across the state, thereby responsibly and automatically ensuring suitable access for customers looking to purchase beer and wine. “There will be approximately one beer and wine license for every three spirits license,” said Papineau regarding the proposed quota system. “Along with the few exemptions to ensure convenient access to consumers we believe the quota is appropriate. We do not hear anyone having an issue with having convenient access to spirits so the 1 per 3 quota makes sense.”
The bill (SB 929) is with the state Senate for concurrence, which is expected to occur early this week. Should it pass, the bill will move to the governor for his signature.