Liquor Franchise Law fix finishes session with momentum, but falls just short.

Today, proposed legislation to stabilize Missouri liquor laws fell victim to the frantic final week of the 2013 Regular Legislative Session. The legislative session concluded at 6:00 p.m.

Senate Bill 114 passed through the Missouri House by an overwhelming margin of 110-48, but after several hours of debate in the Senate the bill was sent to a House and Senate Conference Committee. A legislative compromise was reached in the Conference Committee late last night, but with Missouri legislators facing a torrent of unfinished business, there was not enough to time to pass the compromise liquor franchise legislation in both chambers.

Senator Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, who handled the legislation during the final week of session noted the legislation’s momentum and expressed frustration that it did not pass.

Sue McCollum, CEO of Major Brands, said she was encouraged that the legislation received such an outpouring of support, and that the legislators that were able to vote on the legislation supported the bill at every opportunity. She said Major, which employs more than 700 people in the state, would now concentrate on rebuilding itself.

“We passed the legislation through a Senate Committee, a House Committee, and with a super-majority of the House of Representatives supporting the legislation on the House floor. We had enough support and nearly enough momentum. We just ran out of time. Major will continue to fight for Missouri jobs, our customers, and consumers. That will require us to rebuild a company that was terminated by its two largest suppliers, which account for 50 percent of its spirits business.”

Representative Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, who offered the Liquor Franchise Law amendment to Senate Bill 114 on the House floor, said that the legislature was forced to consider action this session because of a federal court decision that allows out of state mega distributors to take advantage of independent Missouri companies that follow Missouri law.