OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Legislature will not vote this year on allowing convenience stores and supermarkets stock strong beer and wine, The Oklahoman reports. Instead, lawmakers are crafting a task force to study the issue.
"Obviously, this is a huge issue. It's not something that is quite so simple as to be able to throw it all on one page," said state Sen. Clark Jolley.
Jolley, along with other lawmakers, had sponsored bills that would have let residents vote on allowing convenience and grocery stores to sell full-strength beer and wine. Jolley€™s bill was changed to establish a 13-member task force to look into the issue and write a bill that the Legislature would vote on next year.
Sen. Dan Newberry, who chairs the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, requested such a task force. All bills relating to changing alcohol laws go through this committee. Newberry€™s committee put all other alcohol-law bills on hold.
"My opinion is its better to aim then shoot, rather than shoot and aim later," said Newberry. "Everybody needs to understand what they're doing first."
Newberry has not yet made a decision about letting supermarkets and convenience stores sell strong beer and wine. Currently, only low-point beer is available in those stores.
The task force will be comprised of alcohol retailers and distributors, as well as residents. State alcohol retailers and distributors oppose any changes to current state alcohol laws.