On Tuesday, the State House of Representatives passed a measure we feel is sure to benefit small businesses here in the U.P. and statewide.
The Bill, HB 4573, would change the way the Michigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs calculates the cost of a liquor license owners.
Under current regulations, liquor license fees are due on the first of April each year. According to a press release from State Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, the bill's sponsor, if a new store owner were to apply for a liquor license and receive it in January, the business would owe LARA the full amount of the license fee at that time.
Furthermore, come April the business would owe the full amount all over again.
Dianda's bill restructures the license payment during a business's first year.
The Democrat received what he called an overwhelming majority vote from the Republican-controlled House and now moves on to the State Senate, which is also held by the GOP.
Dianda said he relied on his own experience as the former owner of a Calumet party store.
This is not the first time Dianda has used his small business experience to draft legislation. Earlier this year he sponsored a bill that would allow small stores and bars in rural areas to sell gasoline.
Currently such businesses are required to carry a hefty inventory in order to sell gas. Dianda's bill, which is out of committee and on its way to the full house, would benefit tourism by removing the inventory requirements, thus allowing for the sale of gasoline in remote areas that currently are not able to supply it.
These two bills are examples of how our legislature should work, especially in the era of term limits. These days lawmakers don't have the luxury of taking several years to "learn the ropes" and garner power through longevity as did lawmakers such as Rusty Hellman, Dominic Jacobetti, Joe Mack and others.
Today's legislators must "hit the ground running," brining to Lansing their unique expertise.
In the last month it is apparent to us that Rep. Dianda has brought a bit of Copper Country Common Sense to the Capital.
We support both these bills and hope the Senate and Governor Snyder follow the lead of the House.