The New Face of Michigan Liquor Law + Liquor Control Code Updates
Welcome to the new face of Michigan Liquor Law: The updated website for Stariha & Brower, PLC, now contains all of the older blog posts from the old Michigan Michigan Law blog and will be the host of all future blog posts. If you are an existing subscriber to our Liquor Control Code updates, your subscription should be automatically updated. If you are not a subscriber, please feel free to sign up for our email updates here. In addition to the updated Stariha & Brower, PLC, website, we are working on a redesign of the Michigan Liquor Law resource site, including updates to existing information, substantial content additions, and a more user friendly interface. Due to the complexity of the website, the redesign will take some time, but please stay tuned for further updates.
Without further ado, here are a few recent developments that we find to be worth sharing:
Michigan Liquor Control Commission Lansing Office – New Address:
As you may have heard, MLCC is no longer located at 7150 Harris Drive. As of today, MLCC’s Lansing offices are located at Constitution Hall, 525 W. Allegan, Lansing, MI 48933. The mailing address for the Commission will, however, remain the same. You can continue sending your mail to PO Box 30005, Lansing, MI 48909.
Processing Times + Paperless Investigations:
Unfortunately, processing times remain slow in most situations. The initial “processing time” (from receipt of application to authorization for investigation) remains between two and four weeks. After investigation, the period between the file’s return to administration (for docket preparation) and placement on the docket has, in some cases, stretched to over month. The most notable concern recently has occurred after the approval of a licensing request, when we have waited more than two weeks for the receipt of the “closing packet.” While these delays are certainly concerning for applicants, we understand that MLCC is working diligently to fix the various problems that cause delays. Significantly, the enforcement division is moving to a paperless system, which will permit significantly faster investigations (and reduce the risk of files being lost in the mail). We hope that the process will continue to speed up after the Commission and staff adjust to their new location and continue to tweak the new paperless system.
As mentioned in our last post, conditional licenses are finally a reality. These licenses are available for new SDM applicants and applicants who seek to transfer ownership (but not location) of an SDD or Class C license. In order to obtain a conditional license, the applicant must provide MLCC with the application form, proof of financial responsibility, an executed property document, and a conditional license fee of $300. MLCC then has 20 business days to determine whether or not they will issue the conditional license. For more information, you can see the MLCC Conditional License FAQ sheet here.
Recently passed legislation amending the Michigan Liquor Control Code:
Senate Bill 0846 recently passed both the House and Senate. This bill expands the availability of on-premise Redevelopment Liquor Licenses by making these licenses available within villages and townships. Previously, these licenses were exclusive to “Cities”; by expanding the availability to applicants in villages and townships, this new law will provide significant opportunities for development in smaller governmental units.
Current bills that are worth watching:
House Bill 5426 and House Bill 5427 – These bills, taken together, will increase the scope of the farmer’s market permits created last year. Under these bills, micro breweries would be permitted to conduct tastings and fill growlers (for off-premise consumption) at farmer’s market locations. We initially proposed this bill and are proud to have worked with the drafters throughout the process. We are hopeful that the bills will become law.
Senate Bill 0976 – Yet another attempt to decrease the inventory requirement for locations with fuel pumps, this bill would decrease the inventory requirement from $250,000 to $100,000. While many similar bills have been attempted in this past, this bill may deserve a second look, because it is tie bar with SB 0643 (see below). From our perspective, these two bills, taken together, may be an attempt at alleviating the concerns of those parties who have historically stood in the way of decreasing the inventory requirement.
Senate Bill 0643 – SB 0643, introduced in 2013, would create a quota limitation for SDM licenses. If passed, one SDM license would be available for every 1,500 people (or major fraction thereof) in a governmental unit. This is the same quota used for public on-premise liquor licenses.
House Bill 4573 – This bill, which has passed the house, will allow quarterly proration of liquor license fees, with the proration based upon the application’s approval date.
*This information and thoughts herein are provided by the Liquor Lawyers at Stariha & Brower, PLC. As always, we remind readers that the materials on this site are provided purely for informational purposes and are not legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete, and current. This blog is not intended to be a source of legal advice. Therefore, the reader should not consider this information an invitation for an attorney-client relationship. Readers should always seek the advice of competent counsel.