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New Effort for More Resort Community Liquor Licenses Will Surface in 2016 Idaho Legislature



After several attempts to get the Idaho Legislature to loosen its leash on how liquor licenses are doled out, a group of business owners in the Idaho resort communities of Ketchum and Driggs say they're going to give it one more try in 2016.

The Legislature passed a measure in 2015 that would create special liquor licenses for conference or event centers in Idaho resort communities. That wasn't what lobbyists had initially asked for. Their previous effort would have called for a redistribution of state liquor licenses, allowing resort communities to assume license that were left unused in other parts of Idaho.

This week's Idaho Mountain Express reports a 2016 measure, if approved, would allow for more restaurants in resort towns with local-option taxes (i.e., Ketchum, Driggs and McCall) to acquire liquor licenses. As an example, Ketchum could get an additional seven liquor licenses for businesses, adding to its already established 14 liquor licenses. The new licenses would be restricted to special hours, such as dinner time, and would require the establishment in question to get at least 60 percent of its income from food sales.

Supporters say they still have some more work to do if the bill is ready to be put before lawmakers in the new year.

"This is the first bit of information," Ketchum City Attorney Susan Buxton told the Mountain Express, adding the mayor of Driggs has already been informally shopping the proposal to eastern Idaho lawmakers.

"There's going to be more work on this bill. We're going to have engage ore support from the community," she said.