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Hearing this afternoon on proposed rule change for Michigan liquor stores

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Posted at 8:38 AM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 08:38:29-04

A packed house expected at a public hearing this afternoon at the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
The commission is proposing eliminating the half-mile rule which has been in place since 1979 and limits liquor stores from operating within a half-mile of each other. The state says the rule is outdated and not needed.

Members of the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers (AFPD) are planning to attend the hearing at 1 p.m. at Constitution Hall in downtown Lansing to challenge the effort to end the "half-mile" rule. “We expect hundreds of our retailers to attend,” said Auday Arabo, president and CEO of the AFPD.

If the rule is scrapped, liquor stores could operate near each other, even on the same corner. “Without a distance, you could have a liquor store at every corner. Think of the busiest cities and imagine a liquor store on all four corners of the busiest intersections.”

This recent issue is one of the reasons AFPD is working to codify the rule in the legislation process. “MLCC’s half-mile rule is just that, a rule and not a law,” said Arabo. “We want that to change.” Retailers also argue eliminating the rule could force some of them out of business.

Back in March, the state liquor control commission eliminated the rule, but the AFPD filed a lawsuit against the Liquor Control Commission. The AFPD claimed it violated the Administrative Procedures Act when it took only five weeks, from the time it submitted draft rules to the Office of Regulatory Reinvention rescinding the half-mile requirement, until filing the rule as complete with the Department of State. Since the Lawsuit, the MLCC has reinstated the rule but is now holding hearings to rid of it. “There is no real public policy reason for this change,” said Arabo, “Something doesn’t add up.”

Today's hearing on rescinding the rule is at 1:00 p.m. in the Jacquelyn A. Stewart Hearing Room, Constitution Hall, 525 W. Allegan Street, Lansing. Anyone unable to attend the hearing may submit comments in writing to Anita Fawcett at the address below. Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. on September 13, 2017.

Address for written comments: Michigan Liquor Control Commission. 525 W. Allegan Street. PO Box 30005, Lansing MI 48909.