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Senate Approves Bill Changing Makeup of Alcoholic Beverage Control Board

SB 261 by Sen. Olson assures rural representation on the panel

Wednesday, April 14, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – Today the Alaska State Legislature passed legislation by Senator Donny Olson, D-Nome to provide for a rural representative on the Alcoholic  Beverage Control Board (ABC).  Senate Bill 261 specifies that one of the three public member seats on the ABC Board be designated as a rural seat. The objective of the bill is to designate one member of the ABC Board is from a small rural community with significant alcohol problems.

The legislation would allow an ABC Board applicant to be from a town of 6,000 or less not located on the road system, with an exception for Bethel which has over 6,000 residents.

“I think it is very important to have diverse representation on the ABC Board”, said Senator Olson. 

Recently several rural communities repealed prohibitions on the local availability of alcohol, opening up the door to the possibility of opening bars and liquor stores, where none previously existed.

Senator Olson added, “As a medical doctor in my professional life, I have seen first-hand the pain and suffering of Alaskan families fueled by alcohol use.  The ABC Board has the final say in how alcohol is sold and dispensed and I think local knowledge from rural Alaska on the board is essential.”

Currently, the governor is not mandated to appoint a person from a small rural community with where this problematic profile exists.  This bill would mandate such an appointment.

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