A proposal that would have allowed gas stations and c-stores in Iowa to sell hard liquor in the main aisles of stores has failed in the Iowa House, The Des Moines Register reported. The House voted 63 to 24 to remove the liquor sales provision from the budget bill, which was approved in the Senate last week.
“My gut feeling is this is a bad idea,” said Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, who led the effort to cut the provision.
Iowa law does not allow alcohol sales beyond beer and wine in the same location where food, gas and other goods are sold. This law has lead some c-stores to create separate rooms with their own door and cash register in order to sell hard liquor away from the other goods. The provision on liquor in the budget bill would have eliminated the need for an alternate room.
The Senate does not plan to pursue the proposal this session. “The vote was not particularly close,” said Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs. “That leaves me in a position where I think it’s not appropriate to spend a lot of time and energy trying to reverse that.”
Some State representatives said they felt the provision should be its own bill, rather than part of the budget bill, so the public can better evaluate the idea. Those who support the bill said it would help c-store owners offer more goods and services to residents, especially those in rural areas, and would reduce burden and expense felt by small business owners.
Meanwhile, opponents fear selling alcohol in the main aisles of c-stores and gas stations would encourage teen drinking.