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Rauner vetoes booze license exemption bill

Friday, Jan 26, 2018

* The governor is right on his overall position. Not sure if the veto was the right thing to do, but it is past time that the GA solved this problem…

Veto Message for SB 332

January 26, 2018

To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois Senate,
100th General Assembly:

Today I veto Senate Bill 332 from the 100th General Assembly, which would authorize the issuance and renewal of a liquor license for a specific establishment in Chicago.

This legislation requests an exemption from a state law regarding which establishments can hold liquor licenses based on their distance from a church, school or other specified institution. Many of the broad exemptions to the general 100-foot restriction still leave out certain business owners, especially in Chicago. As a result, owners of 75 businesses have found it necessary to secure individual exemptions through legislation like this.

The time has come for the General Assembly to reform this broken system. Businesses should not have to secure exemptions to state law to acquire the licenses they need to thrive. Liquor licensure of this sort should be handled at the local level, where the impact of allowing a business to sell certain products is the greatest. Local government officials can better determine whether allowing such exemptions and licenses is appropriate for a given community, and are more well-situated than the state legislature to create a streamlined process for making these determinations in a business-responsive manner.

I have stated in the past that I would no longer sign these carve-outs into law, and have repeatedly urged the General Assembly to address the flawed structure. Legislation such as Senate Bill 2436 provides for local liquor commissioners to take ownership of this process and grant exemptions to the 100-foot rule if authorized by local law or ordinance, and represents a solution to a problem instead of a repeated work-around.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 332, entitled “AN ACT concerning regulation,” with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.


Bruce Rauner

For crying out loud, let Chicago deal with this.

* The bill

(sss) Notwithstanding any provision of this Section to the contrary, nothing in this Section shall prohibit the issuance or renewal of a license authorizing the sale of alcoholic liquor at premises located within a municipality with a population in excess of 1,000,000 inhabitants and within 100 feet of a church if:

    (1) the premises are approximately 2,800 square feet with east frontage on South Allport Street and north frontage on West 18th Street in the City of Chicago;
    (2) the shortest distance between the north property line of the premises and the nearest exterior wall of the church is 95 feet;
    (3) the main entrance to the church is on West 18th Street, faces south, and is more than 100 feet from the main entrance to the premises;
    (4) the sale of alcoholic liquor is incidental to the sale of food in a restaurant;
    (5) the principal religious leader of the church has not indicated his or her opposition to the issuance or renewal of the license in writing; and
    (6) the alderman of the ward in which the premises are located has indicated his or her support for the issuance or renewal of the license in writing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Giulini - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 4:06 pm:

    Thalia Hall?

  2. - Revolver - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    This indeed was the right thing to do, now it forces the GA to change the outdated law they have amended into oblivion.

  3. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 4:10 pm:

    Yeah this is a local matter and has no business clogging up the statute books.

  4. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 4:18 pm:

    Agree that in theory it should be a local zoning issue. The problem, though, comes when a local government entity treats such zoning / licensing as a regulatory cash (or favortism) cow.

    Maybe the solution would be to get the State out of the business except to establish a maximum fee / cap to the process.

  5. - @misterjayem - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 4:20 pm:

    “Thalia Hall?”

    My money’s on this joint:

    – MrJM

  6. - Just Observing - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 4:34 pm:

    I hear and generally agree with the Gov. and get the frustration if he has previously declared he will not longer be signing these exemptions, but is there a local business that is going to go out of business because of this?

  7. - Anon - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 7:09 pm:

    I’ve been saying this for years. Let the locals decide. Have you ever seen this Section in the Act? Largest section in the Liquor Control Act. You got the money? The State has the exemption. Well, as long as you hire the right lobbyist.

  8. - Just Me - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 7:13 pm:

    Typically these exemptions are for restaurants or grocery stores that are close to a school or church. The exemptions are typically very appropriate.

    However, it is also appropriate that perhaps a statewide law that constantly needs to be amended isn’t worth the trouble. If the Governor really did warn legislators to stop doing this, then this is a great veto.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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