Waters bipartisan bill to assist beverage producers during an emergency or disaster gets approval from the House

The Washington State House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill from Rep. Kevin Waters on Monday, that would provide a major boost to beverage producers during a disaster or state of emergency.

“Last summer, I witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of the Tunnel 5 Fire in my district. Not only did it cause major damage to the area, but it also prevented many businesses from staying open,” said Waters, R-Stevenson.

“That’s what led me to sponsor this legislation. The Tunnel 5 Fire forced several wineries to shut down production and sales. The remaining wineries offered to open their facilities to affected companies. However, current law would not allow that to happen.”

House Bill 2204 would allow beverage producers a temporary emergency permit – with no fees – to move their place of business to another beverage producing company in the event a natural disaster forces them to close.

The permit would be valid for 30 days and could be continually renewed for periods of 30 days if the emergency or disaster continues. Liquor that is provided by the permit holder could be served by employees or agents of the permit holder on the licensed premises.

The permit holder would be able to store up to a 30-day supply of liquor at the licensed premises in segregated storage. No more than a total of three emergency permit holders would be allowed to sell at the same licensed premises under an emergency permit.

“The frequency of disasters such as wildfires and landslides seem to be increasing and this bill would provide an option to help beverage producers handle these situations and minimize loss,” added Waters. “It would also allow licensees to keep their businesses open and staff employed.

“These producers took a big hit because there is no policy in place to help them continue operating. That needs to change, and this bill would do that.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov