The House Regulatory Reform Committee took testimony and passed out of committee HB 5877 (Denby, R-Fowlerville). This bill amends the Michigan liquor control code dealing with redevelopment liquor licenses. According to a recent determination by the Liquor Control Commission, only businesses in cities are eligible for redevelopment liquor licenses (click here for one-pager on redevelopment licenses). This new determination is counter to the last six years, where the Liquor Control Commission has allowed the redevelopment licenses in TIF districts to be for cities, villages, or townships. Letters recently went out to the municipalities who have these explaining the issue and saying they will not be available any longer. This bill is an attempt to rectify this issue and clarifies eligibility for the redevelopment liquor licenses in the development districts to cities, villages, and townships.
An amendment was added onto the bill to grandfather in those businesses in a village or township who have already received a redevelopment liquor license to ensure that they don’t have to re-apply after this bill is passed. The League was supportive of this amendment.
There was also an amendment that was requested to be offered that the League was successful in preventing for the time being. The amendment would require a business to search (and negotiate) county wide for an existing quota liquor licenses before being eligible for a redevelopment liquor license. Under current law, the business only has to search for a quota license in the municipality they would be operating in. The Michigan Restaurant Association pushed for this in testimony because they are concerned with devaluation of quota licenses. The League testified and said that we would have major problems with this. It would delay important economic development and be a cost jump for small businesses causing less redevelopment in our downtowns. This is the same argument that the MRA and Licensed Beverage Association made in separate legislation in 2008. The League has committed to being part of ongoing discussions and workgroups on this issue prior to it being taken up in the Senate or prior to a separate bill being introduced and moved.
Nikki Brown is the Capital Office Coordinator for the League handling economic development issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.