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Oklahoma Legislature passes several alcohol bills

May 30, 2017 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Legislature has passed several alcohol-related bills this session.

Republican Sen. Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma City authored many of the bills, including one allowing breweries to have the same hours of operation as bars and restaurants, The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/2qCKJX3 ) reported.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed another measure Thursday allowing counties to vote on Sunday liquor sales.

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“Although more than three dozen states allow for Sunday sales, I felt it was important to empower local communities to decide whether or not to allow liquor stores the option to be open,” Bice said. “Should communities choose to put the issue to a vote of the people, it would bring some parity to liquor stores since grocery and convenience stores will be able to sell some of the same items.”

In 2016, voters approved a bill that would allow wine to be sold in Oklahoma grocery stores. Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma President Bryan Kerr said the Sunday sales measure won’t help liquor stores in the state stay in business once that law goes into effect in 2018.

“We don’t believe Sunday sales will help any of our members’ stores economically, but we support it because it will benefit our customers and we don’t think adversely affect public health or safety,” Kerr said.

Alex Weintz, executive director for pro-alcohol law reform group Modernize Oklahoma, said the latest changes have spurred new business for the state.

“I’m excited about the way the session turned out and I think many Oklahomans will be too,” Weintz said. “Most of these changes will go into effect in 2018, but you can already see changes in the alcohol landscape just in anticipation.”

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com