Commonwealth Journal

News Live

August 15, 2013

Courts to clarify liquor store quotas

Somerset refiles case against ABC

Somerset —

The issue of Somerset’s liquor store quota is back in the courts, only the latest twist in an ongoing saga that’s being played out on both the local and state levels.
According to a statement released from Mayor Eddie Girdler’s office Tuesday, the City of Somerset has re-filed legal action concerning the issuance of retail package liquor licenses by the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
While it seems like an aggressive move, that may not entirely be the case.
“We’re just asking the judge to clarify the law,” said Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler. “Nobody knows what it is, whether us or ABC.
“They (ABC) contend that regardless of local ordinance, regardless of what any city passes, they have complete jurisdiction to do what they want,” he added. “We’re not seeking anything other than for the judge to clarify that is the law. ... Through this whole process, because there are so many cities they’re dealing with, we just feel they need to clarify exactly how to you get a license and who gets them.”
City ABC Administrator Nick Bradley confirmed that the newest lawsuit had a lot to do with simply figuring things out after they were muddled by a recent meeting with a state legislature committee.
“Really, it’s all about laws and regulations, getting those set and clarifying exacts the ins and outs of how this works,” said Bradley. “(It’s about) holding people accountable for making sure laws are followed, and making sure we’re doing the same.”
In early July, the Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee — on which Somerset’s own State Rep. Tommy Turner sits — voted to find ABC’s regulations deficient.
This was after the ABC had agreed to grant the city five additional liquor store licenses — considered “quota” licenses, the number of which available to a city is chosen by the ABC, as well as the recipients of said licenses.

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