A proposed change to Kansas alcohol laws would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine and liquor. Currently, wine and spirits are only available at dedicated liquor stores.
A Kansas House committee heard from supporters and opponents of the bill Thursday. The committee room was packed with people interested in the bill.
Jon McCormick, with the Kansas Food Dealers Association told legislators that current laws cause some Kansans to drive across the state line to buy alcohol. He says the current system creates inconvenience for Kansans and raises liquor costs.
“Good common sense suggests it’s time to reduce consumer inconvenience, increase competition and keep Kansans shopping in Kansas,” says McCormick.
Opponents of the change say it would shut down local liquor stores and cost the state jobs.
Jeff Grantham owns Central Wine and Spirits in Wichita, which he says employs up to 12 people.
“If this goes through, my business will be at risk,” says Grantham. “Not one of these big-box retailers are in jeopardy of failing if this bill is not passed, because they don’t sell strong beer, wine and spirits right now.”
The chairman of the committee has not yet set a date them to debate and vote on the bill.