Government Affairs: Week of 2/28/2011

Posted by admin on February 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 oversaturation 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 me if you have any questions.

Here is the link to find your legislator by zip code:



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Caffeinated Energy Drinks Scrutinized

Posted by admin on November 18, 2010

Ohio Aims To Stop Sale Of Alcohol Energy Drinks

Wednesday,  November 17, 2010 1:36 PM

Updated: Wednesday,  November 17, 2010 7:14 PM


WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce a virtual ban of alcoholic energy drinks on Wednesday even as a leading manufacturer is pulling its products off the market.
The FDA is expected to say that caffeine is an unsafe food additive to alcoholic drinks, a move that would effectively ban them from sale.


College students have been hospitalized after drinking the beverages, including the popular Four Loko.  Four states have banned the drinks.

The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Liquor Control announced on Wednesday  that the manufacturer of Four Loko and the supplier of alcohol energy drink Joose have agreed to stop the distribution of their products in Ohio.   
Phusion Projects, which manufactures Four Loko, announced late Tuesday that it would reformulate its drinks, removing caffeine.

While there is little known medical evidence that the drinks are less safe than other alcoholic drinks, public health advocates said they can make people feel more alert and able to handle risky tasks like driving.

Watch 10TV News HD and refresh for additional information.



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Zeno's Plans Appeal to Smoking Ban Ruling

Posted by admin on November 18, 2010


Columbus bar to appeal smoking-ban ruling

Thursday, November 18, 2010  09:20 AM

Updated: Thursday, November 18, 2010 02:18 PM

The Columbus Dispatch

A Victorian Village bar plans to appeal a court ruling that state officials didn't overstep their bounds when they repeatedly cited the establishment for violating Ohio's smoking ban.

Zeno's Victorian Village is fighting a two-pronged battle against the 2006 anti-smoking law, saying it shouldn't apply to family-owned bars and that authorities are unfairly punishing bars for violating the ban rather then the smokers themselves.

This week, the Franklin County Court of Appeals handed Zeno's a big setback. In a 3-0 ruling Tuesday, judges overturned a trial court's decision that dismissed more than $30,000 in fines against Zeno's. The trial court concluded that authorities had singled out bars and restaurants for penalties while refusing to cite smokers who violated the ban.

The trial court's February ruling never affected how state and local health departments enforce the no-smoking law. As of the end of August, more than 2,500 fines have been issued to violators totaling nearly $1.2 million, according to the Ohio Department of Health. State and local officials have collected about $400,000 of that amount.

All of the fines have been issues against businesses rather than smokers.

Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Jennifer House said the appeals court's ruling simply reaffirms how health authorities have been enforcing the law since early 2007.

"We always believed that the appellate court would uphold the way we do enforcement," House said.

Anti-smoking groups have released a series of polls since 2007 showing widespread support for the ban, which was approved by 58 percent of voters in November 2006.

Still, many bars have complained that it has hurt their business and done little to protect public health.

Maurice Thompson, attorney for the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a conservative group representing Zeno's, said the next step is the Ohio Supreme Court.

He said Zeno's and other bars will continue to press the argument that the ban shouldn't apply to small, family-owned bars whose business consists predominately of liquor sales rather than food.

"The public-health concerns for a stadium or a family-oriented place are different from a place where people go to drink and smoke," Thompson said.

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Welcome to the Ohio Bar Owner Blog!

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010

Welcome to the OLBA's Ohio Bar Owner Blog.  This is where you can catch up on the latest issues impacting bar and tavern owner and their employees.  Don't forget to check back frequently.

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