Sunday, September 5, 2004

State drops fight against Sunday 'package' sales

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Liquor stores around Kentucky may sell packaged liquor on Sundays with the approval of local government after the state decided not to fight a court ruling allowing the sales.

The state decided not to appeal a Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling overturning its assertion that local governments could not regulate the sale of packaged liquor, such as unopened bottles of whiskey and vodka bought from a liquor store. The court of appeals sided with the store in its July 30 ruling.

The state had a month to appeal the decision to the Kentucky Supreme Court but chose not to do so.

"It is now a matter for the legislature to take up if they want to make changes," said John Clay, executive director of the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Local governments have long been able to regulate the sale of liquor and wine "by-the-glass," or single servings offered at conventions, restaurants and special events. Liquor Outlet LLC, which owns and operates the Party Source in Bellevue, argued in a suit it brought that state law also gives local governments the right to regulate sales of packaged liquor.

A three-judge panel ruled unanimously that state law gives a city or county the ability to regulate both "by-the-drink" and package liquor sales and wine.

Because no cities now allow packaged liquor to be sold on Sundays, the ruling will have no immediate effect.

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