Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill into law to make it easier for local governments to establish outdoor drinking areas.
The substitute for House Bill 2277 authorizes cities and counties to establish “common consumption areas” where people can move around freely with alcoholic beverages.
Current state law allows temporary permits for the consumption of alcohol for special events.
But common consumption areas would be in place long term. Cities and counties could set the times and dates when alcohol is allowed.
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Any public street in a common consumption area would have to be blocked off from traffic when alcohol is being consumed, according to the bill.
Supporters hope the measure will encourage cities and counties to establish areas similar to Kansas City’s Power and Light District, where restaurants and bars surround an open area and people can walk from place to place with drinks. Wichita officials supported the concept, saying small common consumption areas in College Hill and Delano could be possible.
The governor announced Wednesday afternoon he signed the bill. Both houses of the Legislature gave final approval of the amended bill in May.
Contributing: Jonathan Shorman of The Eagle.