Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Benally speaks out against bill that would make it harder to protest some liquor license applications, transfers

 Benally speaks out against bill that would make it harder to protest some liquor license applications, transfers

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Jennifer Benally, D-Tuba City (District 7), recently spoke out against a bill that would make it harder to protest some liquor license applications and transfers.

The Arizona House of Representatives recently passed HB 2359, which would increase the number of people needed to trigger a public hearing to review liquor license applications or transfer of existing licenses. Currently, it takes only one person living within a mile of the business to protest. If HB 2359 becomes law, it will take five percent of all the people living within that one-mile radius.

“This bill weakens the voices of those who might be opposed to an establishment transferring a liquor license,” Benally said. “Requiring five percent of a population to actively protest a liquor license places a serious burden on that community, especially in dense urban communities and areas that are struggling economically. This bill makes it harder for community members to voice their concerns.”

Benally added that this issue is especially important to Native American communities.

“Many of the liquor stores that would be affected by this legislation are more than a mile away from Native American Nations. But there are people in these communities who have concerns about liquor license transfers,” she said. “Our communities are affected by these decisions; the ripple effect extends beyond that one-mile radius. There should be a way for them to participate and ensure their voices are heard.”

HB 2359 passed the Arizona House by a vote of 33 to 25 and now awaits action in the Senate.

The full text of the bill can be found here.



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