Thursday, 21 March 2019 12:01

Goodman sponsors bill to allow alcohol sales at public college events

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RALEIGH — A bill in the N.C. House would authorize public colleges and universities to allow the sale of alcohol at stadiums, athletic facilities, and arenas located on school property.

Reps. John Bell, R-Greene; James Boles Jr., R-Moore; Ken Goodman, D-Richmond; and David Lewis, R-Harnett, are the primary sponsors.

The measure, House Bill 389, expands existing legislation and also seeks to control consumption at NCAA events, such as football games, where drinking is prevalent but unregulated.

The move applies only to beer and wine — not to spirits or mixed drinks — and depends on approval by respective schools’ boards of trustees.

The bill, filed Tuesday, March 19, is the latest in a round of legislation focused on loosening, or better defining state rules regarding alcohol.

On Tuesday, the House standing Alcohol Beverage Committee approved Senate Bill 11, introduced by Sen. Andy Wells, R-Catawba. Wells introduced the bill, in large part, because of a spate of shootings and killings outside three Catawba County bars between April 2017 and April 2018.

Wells said he became frustrated with the violence and the inability of law enforcement to control it and to revoke licenses. The problems, he said, often happen because businesses that operate as a restaurant become a bar at night.

What amounts to a family restaurant, Wells said, turns into a bar, and some of these operators are incapable of running such a business.

“After midnight, all the wheels come off,” Wells said during Tuesday’s committee meeting.

He said he worked with the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to address the situation through legislation.

“It’s a law enforcement bill,” Wells said.

“This is a way to get the bad players out of the business.”