Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Movie-beer bill goes to governor

Express Staff Writer

New theaters seeking to sell beer and wine to patrons may have to take their ideas out of state.

But theaters that have had alcohol licenses for decades will be allowed to continue selling their libations if Gov. Dirk Kempthorne signs a revised bill introduced by Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum.

The bill, which would grandfather in four Idaho movie houses to allow beer and wine sales, passed the Senate Tuesday, April 4.

The House approved the bill Thursday, March 30, by a vote of 35-29.

"I'm really pleased," Jaquet said Thursday. "A year ago I was hoping we would not have to find a legislative solution. But that's what has happened. I'm just hoping it goes all the way."

The legislation would put into compliance licensed movie theaters that were selling beer and wine as of Jan. 1, 2006.

Four Idaho theaters fall into that category: Magic Lantern Cinema and Ski Time Cinemas in Ketchum, Sun Valley Opera House, and the Flicks in Boise.

All other movie theaters are prohibited from serving alcohol.

Jaquet's previous version of the bill would have allowed cities to pass ordinances allowing or prohibiting such sales.

The House killed that proposal last month.

Idaho State Police last year told a new theater they would not be able to get a beer and wine license, sparking a debate about theaters that have done so for decades.

ISP, which oversees Alcohol Beverage Control, gave a stay to the theaters while a solution is worked out.

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