New bill aims to allow more gas stations to sell alcohol - WNEM TV 5

New bill aims to allow more gas stations to sell alcohol

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Lawmakers are back to work and one of their latest efforts could have you finding beer for sale in more places.

Some call it the "Booze and Drive" bill because Senate Bill 929 would make it easier for gas stations to stock beer, wine, and liquor for sale.

The bill would remove prohibitions on the sale of beer and wine where gas pumps are present and remove inventory exceptions which require sellers to maintain a stock worth $250,000.

It would also create more liquor licenses.

Right now, one store can sell alcohol per 3,000 people living in a city. The bill would reduce the population limits to only 1,000.

Supporters say it would help smaller gas stations stay competitive but others see problems down the road.

“It probably won't bring anything to my business. It will probably take away from my business,” said Brad Khirfan, owner of Khirfan’s Super-K in Flint.

Khirfan said he's not a big fan of the bill because it could potentially let thousands of more gas stations get liquor licenses. 

He said it would help out the big box stores and possibly hurt private owned liquor and party stores like his.

“I'm more concerned about the independents that are in an area where they are in direct competition with a larger box storem,” Khirfan said.

The new bill would amend the current law so the Michigan Liquor Control Code could remove constraints of beer and wine sales at fuel pumps.

It would remove the current exception of maintaining $250,000 of inventory at gas stations and create a new quota system for liquor licenses based on population.

It will also allow gas stations, who were previously barred from holding a liquor license, 60 days to apply to apply for one.

Many people in the community want to shut the door on selling even more beer and wine across the state.

“There is already enough alcohol being served and enough places that sell it. Why add to the problem?” said one person.

Khirfan said he want's state officials to check out who it might affect a little more.

“Look at the details. Sometimes the Devil is in the details because a lot of times what we don't want to see happen is for more small business people to be eliminated,” he said. 

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