Politics & Government

Kansas Senate says yes to ‘bring your own bottle’ bill

The BYOB provision was originally put in the bill as a way to allow participants in art studio painting parties to bring their own wine.
The BYOB provision was originally put in the bill as a way to allow participants in art studio painting parties to bring their own wine. File photo

The Senate on Thursday approved an alcohol bill allowing “bring your own bottle” for businesses, after it was watered down to address Wichita concerns it would open the way for after-hours clubs.

The measure, HB 2223, also would allow drinking in the state Capitol building during official functions and during catered events on other public property.

The bill passed 30-6. It now returns to the House for a final vote.

It had gotten bounced around in the legislative process mostly because of the bring-your-own-bottle provision. It was originally put in the bill as a way to allow participants in art studio painting parties to bring their own wine.

But a floor amendment by Sen. Michael O’Donnell, R-Wichita, extend BYOB privileges to all businesses.

That drew opposition from Wichita, where city officials and police worried it could be used by after-hours clubs to keep the drinking going beyond the 2 a.m. cutoff for alcohol sales in bars.

The city also worried that “bad actor” bar owners who lose their liquor licenses for misconduct would be able to stay in business with a BYOB business model.

The bill came back to the floor Thursday after House and Senate conference negotiators agreed to compromise language limiting BYOB privileges.

The limitations:

▪ No BYOB between the hours of midnight and 9 a.m.

▪ The business can’t have a cover charge or entry fee.

▪ The BYOB alcohol has to stay in the personal possession of the customer who brings it.

▪ Employees can’t sell or serve the alcohol.

▪ People who have had a liquor license revoked are disqualified from operating a BYOB business.

Wichita withdrew its objections to the bill after the changes were made.

“We are pleased to report that many of our concerns have been addressed in the bill that came out of conference committee,” said a statement issued on the city’s behalf by spokesman Ken Evans.

O’Donnell said he spoke with City Manager Robert Layton and three council members, and they worked it out.

“I think everyone is happy with this compromise,” O’Donnell said. “It’s all around a win.”

Reach Dion Lefler at 316-268-6527 or dlefler@wichitaeagle.com.

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