Some of the more notable recommendations made by the ARC contained in the final report issued June 29th include the following:
1. Increased use of electronic communication, primarily email, to speed up communication between the MLCC and licensees;
2. Separation of the Enforcement Division into two sections, including one focused solely on licensing investigations and applicant requests;
3. Allow for "conditionally approved" or "temporary" licenses for up to 180 days so applicants will not have to wait for their license before opening their bar or restaurant;
4. Eliminate the need for routine fingerprinting of all applicants for new licenses;
5. Eliminate background investigation on most "currently licensed" individuals unless their circumstances have changed;
6. Eliminate pre-licensing verification of finances by the Commission's Enforcement staff and instead conduct follow-up investigation as to the source of funds as needed;
7. Waive most investigations where minimal amounts of company stock or interest in the business are being transferred, particularly for family-owned businesses;
8. Allow for escrowed Class C licenses to transfer between adjacent counties upon payment of a $10,000 fee;
9. Amend several sections of the Michigan Liquor Control Code to require proof a licensee "knowingly allowed" certain conduct to occur before it could be deemed a violation;
10. Permit licensees to make alcohol sales on credit at the discretion of the licensee;
11. Relax the prohibition against advertising on "secondary use" items that have a brand logo such as shirts, glassware, napkins and other items used in the daily business of the licensee;
12. Increase the amount of liquor that on-premise licensees may buy from off-premise licensees by increasing the monthly cap of 9 liters currently allowed; and
13. Reduce the required inventory threshold for locations with adjacent gas pumps from $250,000 to $50,000.
Many of these proposed changes will require statutes to be enacted by the Michigan Legislature. Others will require Administrative Rule changes that must go through a lengthy and complicated public notice and comment period before they can be implemented. Some of these changes can be implemented by the MLCC without the need for either statutory or administrative rule amendments, and we believe the MLCC will actively pursue many of these proposed changes in the coming months. We will continue to update our clients as these changes make their way through the legislative and rule-making process, or as the MLCC adopts new procedures in accordance with many of these proposals.
Click here to see the complete recommendations.