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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How Times Have Changed

Thirty years ago if they tried a stunt like this, the sponsors
would have been laughed off the legislative floor. Trying to push
through drinking hard liquor before noon on Sunday and allowing the
bars to stay open until 4 a.m. would have been crushed by the
anti-drinking lobby.
Ah, but today, the so-called "drys," as they were known years
ago, are battling to kill this thing before it multiples and it's no
longer a sure bet they will win.
Thirty years ago there was no Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.
The religious lobby pretty much fought the drinking wars. Now MADD and
others are poised to take on the sponsors of the measure, including the
governor, who are desperate to raise new revenue without raising taxes.
It will be an emotional battle.
On the one side are all the casinos in the state which stand to
reap huge profits. There's nothing like a slot machine player at 3:30
a.m. feeling just a little tipsy and plunking those quarters into the
machines like there's no tomorrow.
Mom and pop bars, however, are not that excited because it
would cost them $1500 to get the new license. And while that is only
30 bucks a week, apparently the bar lobby thinks that is too steep.
They also can't swallow another provision which gives20local
governments the power to veto the license if there is a local bar that
entertains unsavory customers. The bars argue it gives the local
government a chance to get even with bars they don't like.
The governor is quick to argue that all of this is voluntary.
If a bar doesn't like the fee, it doesn't have to pay but if Joe's
Saloon down the street has it and Bob's Bar does not, there's a
competition thing to worry about.
At any rate, the fact that this proposal is still alive, is
testimony to the fact that times have changed and odds are it will
pass…an unheard of notion thirty years ago when drinking before church
was a mortal sin.


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