Kansas Association
of Beverage Retailers





Big Box Liquor Bill Out of Time for the Regular Session 

Could still be brought up during the May Veto Session

The House Commerce Committee Chair, Rep. Marvin Kleeb, has indicated that the committee is unlikely to be able to find time to meet again this week to finish its debate on HB 2556.  This means the Big Box Bill is out of time for now.

We will continue to watch the Legislature closely and report if there is any effort to resurrect the bill.  Legislative Committees were supposed to wrap up their work on bills last week.  This week, the Legislature is focused on the development and passage of House and Senate K-12 education bills in response to the education funding inequity decision by the Kansas Supreme Court on March 7.  Conference committees are also meeting throughout each day to resolve differences between House and Senate bills and have them approved by each chamber once again.  The conference committee on HB 2223 meets Wednesday - see below.

"Drop Dead Day" is April 4 - the deadline for bills to be passed in the regular session.  The Legislature will adjourn for their spring break - when the Governor reviews and signs bills - and will return for the veto session on April 30.  The 2014 Legislative Session is scheduled to wrap up May 15.   

The work on the education bill has made it difficult for the Commerce Committee to find time to meet.  The Chair and Vice Chair of Commerce are now leading the House Appropriations Committee effort.  Yesterday, Rep. Marc Rhoades quit as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee over disagreement with the Speaker re: education funding proposal.  Appropriations is considered the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives.

As a result, Rep. Gene Suellentrop moved into the Chair position and Rep. Marvin Kleeb was appointed vice-chair.  The Appropriations Committee met most of the morning and part of the afternoon hearing public testimony on the new House proposal to resolve the K-12 education funding inequity cited by the Kansas Supreme Court in their decision March 7.

Meanwhile, Chairman Kleeb is also knee-deep in conference committees with the Senate on – among other things – a judiciary bill to increase the maximum cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice suits.

The Chairman has said that he is under a great deal of pressure to work the Big Box Liquor bill this session.  It is unclear if that pressure stems from the proponents’ lobbying corps, legislators or public grassroots communication.

We have spent hours tracking down one rumor after another, but can find no evidence that there are enough “yes” votes on the Commerce Committee to pass HB 2556, even in its substitute form.

We will continue to monitor the committee and halltalk in case there is a last minute effort to move forward.


(March 31)  The House and Senate Federal and State Affairs Conference Committee will meet Wednesday, April 2, at 1 p.m. in Room 144-S to work out their differences on Sub for HB 2223.  Link to bill description.  Link to HB 2223(Lobbyists are calling this the Micro Mega Liquor Bill of 2014)

Read the substitute proposal for HB 2556 here.

Read the original 2014 proposed Big Box Bill here - HB 2556      

Read KABR Comments in Opposition to HB 2556 here.

Check out the Keep Kansans in Business Bill Analysis of the original bill.                                        

Public Hearing on HB 2556 was Standing Room Only

H2556 – Big Box Liquor Bill Hearing Notes – February 19, 2014

Good turnout today from retailers.  Much smaller turnout for the Big Box / grocery / convenience store group.  Thanks to all who came.  As we know from experience, the next week or so will be key - the Committee could vote on the bill as early as next Monday.  But the Committee appears to have a full schedule that day. 

On the other hand, some legislators suggest that there may not be an appetite to work this bill – it is an election year after all.  But there are a couple of legislators on this committee who genuinely favor the concept and may push it forward. 

Communicate with your legislators immediately – you can share some of the information put forward today.  For instance – the 2013 Public Survey indicating that Kansans do not support the deregulation of liquor/sale in grocery and convenience stores.  Communicate with the Commerce Committee.  Remember – always be professional and courteous.  And let us know if you need assistance.  Take advantage of the hotline – 1-866-519-2200 during office hours.

We know from experience that one-on-one conversations of citizens and their legislators are the most effective way to continue to defeat these bad bills.   Read More...                                                           


Committee amends Citizenship Bill to Change Retail License Rules - Multiple Licenses


On February 14, the House Federal and State Affairs committee radically altered HB 2196 and passed it. The intention of the underlying bill was to reduce citizenship requirements for distributors. This morning, committee members adopted an amendment to allow retailers to own an unlimited number of retail liquor stores. HB 2196 (link)

Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) called his amendment pro-America and pro-jobs. The amendment was not made public prior to the committee meeting, and there was no public hearing on the issue  Read more.


Check out this TV news spot from KSHB Kansas City featuring Dawn Rattan of Village West Liquors.


Here is a link to 'We'll drink to that': Proponents push new grocery store liquor bill” an article published in the Kansas City Business Journal.  It describes the bill proposal and highlights the support of Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee). 


In other news – a Wine in Grocery Stores bill in Tennessee was adopted by the State Legislature.   View here



Please pay your dues by March 10, 2014 - Print Form Here. 

HB 2223 - Amends Liquor Control Act  

Update - The House has concurred to the Senate amendments on HB 2223.  The bill is headed to the Governor for signature.

HB 2223 began in the House of Representatives as the Homebrewer’s Bill, and was amended by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee on March 20 to become the 2014 “micro-mega liquor bill”.  This bill includes the few Liquor Control Act items that have been headed for passage this session.  The bill legalizes sharing homemade beer with personal guests and judges at a competition - as long as there are no sales of the home brewed product.

The bill includes the contents of SB 346, a bill requested by Kansas Microbreweries to raise their annual production cap from 15,000 barrels to 30,000 barrels.

Additionally, a clause to amend the citizenship requirement for liquor licenses was added.  The House Federal and State Affairs Committee held hearings on this issue and adopted the change in HB 2196 and added it to SB 346 as well.  Current law requires applicants for all forms of liquor licenses to be a U.S. citizen for ten years.  Applicants may now qualify if they are currently a U.S. citizen.

Finally, the Senate Federal and State Affairs added a section to clarify that Kansas farm wineries are permitted to participate in consumer tastings at liquor stores as a supplier.

Because HB 2223 has passed the House and the Senate, it is now eligible for conference committee between representatives of the House and Senate Federal and State Affairs committees. The House could also choose to simply concur with the Senate amendment to HB 2223 and the bill would be adopted.

With its passage, it is no longer necessary for the full House of Representatives to debate SB 346 or HB 2196.  Members may remember that House Federal and State Affairs adopted a bill February 14 (HB 2196) that reduces the current 10 year citizenship rule for licensing to simply being a U.S. citizen.  2196 also includes the amendment to open up retailer licenses to unlimited numbers.



2014 Calendar of Events


Register for Upcoming Events

26 Apr 2014 3:00 PM • Sleep Inn, 202 W 11th, Coffeyville, KS Call: 620-688-6400


KABR Membership

The Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers offers membership to licensed retail liquor store owners in Kansas.  Since 1949, the Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers has been the liquor store owners best, and only, organized voice in Topeka. 

Join KABR Now!   Print out the form on this website and mail or fax it.  For membership information, email Stacey Harlow. 


Retailer Education Seminars

The Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers offers retailer training seminars with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.  With the adoption of many new statutes and new regulations in the past three years, this education is extremely important to your business.  Seminars are offered regularly from April to December at various locations throughout the state.  This year, training seminars are available at regular KABR events (see calendar).  Also, KABR will set up training events on request.  KABR Members are eligible for two free registrations.  Fees for seminars are typically around $20 per person, but can vary according to actual cost.  ABC considers voluntary training to be a mitigating factor for licensee violations.

For training, sign up for upcoming conferences, or to set up a seminar, please email KABR.


Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers       P.O. Box 3842, Topeka, KS  66604      Email KABR  

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