Government Affairs: Week of 2/28/2011

Government Affairs: Week of 2/28/2011
  1. Guns on Liquor Permit Premises: The last couple of e-mails have highlighted the issue of allowing a firearm on a permit premise by someone who has a conceal carry permit and is not under the influence of alcohol or consuming alcohol. Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 1:30 in Room 116 of the Statehouse will be the fourth hearing on HB 45.The OLBA, along with the respective associations for the Chiefs of Police and County Prosecutors, have testified in opposition to the bill. Now is the time for bar owners to offer their thoughts and input. Many permit holders have expressed concern; tomorrow is your opportunity to offer your thoughts on the legislation.It should be noted the current law allows for a premises owner or lessee to post a sign forbidding firearms, including by CCW permit holders. This will STILL be the law if HB 45 passes.
  2. Privatization: many calls have been received by the OLBA regarding reports of the State “privatizing” the distribution of spirituous liquor, particularly as private companies are already running the warehouses and making the deliveries. The OLBA, and other interested parties, continue to monitor this proposal. Based on all information we have received and gathered, it would appear that the focus is on the financial side and how to best maximize the profits that the State currently makes from the current system. To that end, we have heard no suggestions or recommendations regarding altering the law regarding distribution, pricing, number of state agencies, etc. However, to this point, nothing has been put in writing by anyone within government. Stay alert for more information.
  3. Quota Exempt Permits: yet another proposal has surfaced that would allow for an increased number of quota exempt permits. As the OLBA has repeated over the years, the quota system is a central part of the control state philosophy that recognizes an over-saturation of liquor permits makes alcoholic beverages overly accessible.

The current proposal would allow a few additional counties to qualify for an entertainment or revitalization district and get an additional 10 D-5 permits for restaurants (75% of sales MUST be food). This effort is focused on the city of Warren, Trumbull County. The OLBA has been told that permit holders in the area are supportive of such a change as it will help bring business to the area and customers.

As you can see from above, issues facing the liquor permit holder never go away and generally tend to work against those currently operating! However, no matter how many meetings the OLBA has with legislative members, very few legislators indicated they have heard from liquor permit holders in their district. Please take the time to reach out to your legislator; very few will put you on the spot and ask you to spend several minutes defending your position. They may ask why you have your position and you simply need only state the reason why . . . remember, they are in Columbus to represent your position as well and the do want to hear from you.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Here is the link to find your legislator by zip code: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/search.cfm#reps_zip

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Andrew Herf
Andrew W. Herf began working in the Ohio statehouse in 1994 as the Legislative Aide to State Senator Robert Cupp. During his two years on staff in the Ohio Senate, Andy worked on a variety of issues affecting business interests across the state including banking reform, insurance reform, building reform, campaign finance reform and pension reform. In 1996, Andy joined the lobbying team at the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, a nationally renowned trade association representing the interest of large and small retailers in Ohio. His areas of expertise included liquor law, tobacco regulation, transportation issues, and security issues. During his time at the Council, Andy managed two affiliated trade associations including the Ohio Association of Convenience Stores and the Ohio Bakers Association, while also serving as the Vice President of Merchant Services, Inc., a corporation focused on providing member services to retailers in Ohio. In 1999, Andy became the Vice President of the Craig Group, a Columbus based public relations firm which provides a variety of public relations services to clients including legislative representation, executive agency lobbying, trade association management, grass roots organization, grass tops organization, Political Action Committee management and issue campaign management Since leaving the Craig Group in 2001, Andy has worked for the Wholesale Beer and Wine Association of Ohio. In his role as Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Andy has built one of the largest Political Action Committees in Ohio and successfully fought for the issues important to beer and wine wholesalers across the state, building overwhelming bi-partisan support for the entire alcohol beverage industry. Over the last 12 years, Andy has worked with national leaders to change the industry conversation into a defense of a regulatory system that offers value and selection to consumers, allows small and large business to compete in a fair marketplace, all the while serving the public good. In 2010, Andy served as the national President of the Wholesale Beer Association Executives, and continues to serve as a voice for the industry in Ohio and nationally. In addition to the Wholesale Beer and Wine Association of Ohio, Andy has also operated AW Herf & Co., LLC. AW Herf & Co. is a multi-client firm representing a variety of interests ranging from pension and retirement issues, financial services, travel and tourism issues, both statewide and regional, and contract procurement.