The House Regulatory Reform Committee met last week to discuss HB 5011, which would allow for temporary liquor licenses while permanent licenses are being considered. Several folks testified in support of this legislation as a way to allow businesses to operate while waiting for the sometimes-lengthy approvals. Several people, though, requested that this bill wait until the Administrative Rules Committee (ARC), which is reviewing all liquor rules and laws, issue their final report. At that time, it is expected that several bills will be introduced on a variety of topics and many of the concerns addressed with this bill will be addressed.
The Michigan Municipal League testified neutral on the bill, but asked for language to assure that these temporary licenses are not subject to “takings” claims if they are revoked or if the permanent licenses is not issued. Previous court decisions have established that liquor licenses are property and that taking them away by the state or locals is taking away future profits. As such, taking away a license needs to be reimbursed for future profits and worth. The League strongly suggested that this bill include language to prevent these temporary licenses from being considered as property and subject to takings lawsuits.
The Michigan Township Association also testified neutral and asked for conditions to be added to assure that the business owner has received local approvals for business operations and is able to actually use the liquor license. They said that they don’t want these issued when the business cannot actually open then have the business owner complain about having the license but not the approvals from the locals.
The bill is expected to see action, but not until the rest of the ARC recommendations are made. The Committee Chair indicated that there will be several bills moving soon, and that the committee will start its work when it receives the ARC report.
Andy Schor is the Assistant Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. Contact him at (517) 908-0300 or by email at [email protected].