West Bloomfield, MI. (DEC.9, 2016) – The Midwest Independent Retailers Association (MIRA) applauded the House passing Senate Bill 853 on Thursday, December 1st.
SB 853 would prevent local governments from banning or setting fees for containers like bags, cups, bottles or packaging. If signed by Michigan Governor 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.”
The 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, 2016, the House passed comprehensive reform to Michigan’s liquor code that will eliminate arbitrary criteria certain businesses have to meet in order to sell beer and wine.
For far too long Michigan’s policy on which businesses are eligible for an SDM license (a license that allows a business to sell beer and wine) have been unfair, unclear, and anti-competitive. The reform passed yesterday also removes several specific carve outs that promoted unequal treatment of some businesses; benefitting some at the expense of others.
“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 in order to sell beer and wine makes sense.” Papineau went on to say, “by putting into place a quota for SDM licenses, similar to how SDD or off premise spirit 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 looking to sell beer and wine the legislation also put into place a quota system limiting 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 3 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,” Papineau continued.
The bill now heads back to the Senate for concurrence which is expected to occur early next week. Afterwards the bill goes to the Governor for signature.
Other Bills MIRA is watching include:
SB 1088 – Wine Direct Ship: This bill allows retailers to ship wine directly to customers through carries like FedEx and UPS. The bill also will allow for certain online app companies to deliver beer, wine, and spirits to customers however, they must go through a retailer to do so.
SB 1051-3, SB 1179: Raises RPF fee and eliminates licenses fees: This bill increases the refined petroleum fund fee 1/8 of a cent but eliminates 3 licensing fees for fuel retailers.
SB 973 – Growlers: This bill will allow SDD licensees to sell beer in growlers.