Serving Franklin County, WA

Schoesler liquor bill moves to House

OLYMPIA – By a 47-2 vote, the Senate passed a bill Feb. 6 that would speed up the process for restaurants, bars and taverns seeking liquor licenses.

Under Senate Bill 5291, applications for liquor licenses or license renewals would be automatically approved if the state Liquor and Cannabis Board fails to issue a decision within 45 days of the application date.

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, introduced the bill after hearing about the trouble three small businesses – Sonny's Tavern and Grill in Washtucna, and Mi Jalisco and Ritzville Golf Course Café in Ritzville – experienced while trying to receive a liquor license from the state.

"I watched two small, minority-owned businesses struggle for 3-8 months for a simple liquor license," Schoesler told other senators prior to the vote. "Imagine, all you want to do is move your Mexican restaurant from one side of the community to the other.

"They've never done anything wrong, great people. Eight months to get their license.

"That's not acceptable."

The proposal would allow the board an additional 30 days to issue a decision on an application if it determines good cause for the extra time exists and issues a temporary license during the extended time period.

Senate Bill 5291 now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.


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