Bill Would 'Redistribute' Idaho Resort Community Liquor Licenses

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A proposal to redistribute liquor licenses for Idaho resort communities surfaced this morning in an Idaho Legislature committee hearing.

Fairfield Republican Rep. Steven Miller stood before the House State Affairs Committee to ask for a full hearing on his plan, which would draw authorized (but unused) liquor licenses from one community and give them to other resort communities where already-operating restaurants can't get a license.

"Idaho liquor laws have prevented our resort communities to thrive to their fullest potential," said Miler.

In particular, Miller has his eye on 12 unused liquor licenses that were already authorized for the Tamarack Resort community in Valley County.

"If this is approved, we would draw four licenses from that pool of unused licenses," said Miller, who said the communities of Ketchum and Driggs were in need of more liquor licenses.

"Ketchum has been planning a new convention center for some time," he said. "And in Driggs, there are 22 restaurants but only two licenses. Driggs is continuously losing business to Wyoming."

Committee members had plenty of questions for Miller and, at times, this morning's print hearing sounded more like a full hearing. Lawmakers wanted to know if the licenses would be transferable (Miller said no); if he had fully communicated with members of each of the resort communities (Miller said he spoke to Ketchum and Driggs but not Valley County); and how the four licenses would be allocated (Miller said it would be "first come, first served").

Ultimately, the committee moved the proposal to be considered for a full public hearing.

In 2013, the Idaho Legislature nixed a bill that would have allowed Idaho resort communities to be exempt for quotas on how many liquor licenses are provided in each town.