Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2003

Boilermaker brewing: City Council looks to drop cereal malt proposal in with Sunday sales

June 19, 2003

The Basehor City Council is set to order a double when it comes to the sale of packaged liquor on Sundays.

Since last month, City Council members have discussed a charter ordinance opting out of the 1940 Liquor Control Act, which prohibits the sale of packaged liquor on Sundays. The proposal has gained steam as of late with area cities such as Bonner Springs and Leavenworth approving similar proposals.

During a work session, Monday, June 16, the City Council reviewed its Sunday sales proposal and discussed adding the sale of cereal malt beverages -- 3.2 percent volume alcohol -- to the bill. City Council members made no decision Monday night, but are scheduled to take action during their meeting Monday, June 23.

The addition of the ordinance under consideration would allow not only liquor stores to sell on Sundays but also convenience and grocery stores to sell cereal malt beverages on Sundays.

The additional provision of the Sunday sales proposal is similar to that of a bill approved last week by the city of Leavenworth, which closely borders the Kansas-Missouri state line. The Leavenworth City Commission unanimously approved allowing Sunday sales of both packaged liquor and cereal malt beverages.

From a legal standpoint, approving Sunday sales for liquor stores shouldn't be a problem; however, adding the cereal malt beverage bill could become a bit more dicey, said John Thompson, Basehor city attorney.

"There's a distinct difference between the two," Thompson said. "I'm of the opinion the city can charter ordinance out. However, at this point, (a cereal malt beverage ordinance) could end up in litigation."

The problem is in the two separate state laws prohibiting Sunday sales for packaged liquor and cereal malt beverages. It's Thompson's opinion that cities can opt out of laws prohibiting Sunday sales while a law banning cereal malt beverages may be uniform to all cities, he said.

"At this point, I think there is very little risk in approving (the Sunday sales) ordinance and it being valid," Thompson said. "But, until the Supreme Court acts on (Sunday cereal malt beverage sales) we really don't know for sure."

At issue before the City Council Monday night was whether to move forward with both Sunday sales and cereal malt beverage sales or to wait to see how Leavenworth's ordinance plays out.

"We could ride on their coattails for a while so speak and see what develops," Thompson said.

Leavenworth County could soon be added to the list of municipalities allowing Sunday sales. On Thursday, June 19, the three-member Leavenworth County Commission will hear a presentation from an attorney representing liquor store owners seeking to open their doors on Sundays.

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