Reps. Filler, Tate, Sen. Hertel spearhead bipartisan legislation
State Rep. Graham Filler, Rep. Joe Tate and Sen. Curtis Hertel have introduced a plan to allow universities in Michigan to sell alcohol at on-campus sporting events.
The bipartisan legislation would lift the state ban and allow university governing boards to apply for liquor licenses to sell alcohol at basketball, football, and hockey games.
“This is a fairness and freedom issue that will allow for a modern, more enjoyable college game-day experience – but it’s also a public health and safety issue,” said Filler (R-Clinton County). “Data from universities in other states clearly shows that the number of alcohol-related incidents inside stadiums declines when alcohol sales are allowed. Instead of binge drinking in the parking lot or sneaking alcohol into the stadium, fans can simply purchase a beer in the concourse.”
Of the 14 schools in the Big Ten, eight allow alcohol sales at football games and most have seen positive results with decreases in the number of alcohol-related incidents. After Ohio State started selling alcohol stadium wide in 2016, university police reported a 65% drop in alcohol-related incidents inside the stadiums.
“It’s simply a matter of fairness,” said Hertel (D-East Lansing). “Alcohol is served at MSU football games now, but only if you’re lucky enough to watch the game in a suite. Beer at the game should be allowed for more than just rich donors. Beyond that, there is overwhelming evidence that shows selling alcohol inside the stadium significantly reduces binge drinking on game days.”
House Bill 6289 and Senate Bill 1125 would allow the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to issue up to three tavern licenses or three Class C liquor licenses to be used for events within the public areas of university football, basketball, and hockey stadiums. Sales would be permitted two hours before and after each game.
“The data is clear that allowing alcoholic beverages in venues during sporting events lowers the probability of excessive alcohol consumption,” said Tate (D-Detroit), who co-sponsored the legislation in the House.
The measures have been referred to the House and Senate Regulatory Reform committees for consideration.
An income tax cut is expected to take place this year thanks to fiscally conservative practices, a large increase in surplus revenue coming into the state, and a 2015 law that triggers an automatic reduction of the state income tax when general fund revenues increase at a rate greater than inflation.