Proposed Bill Would Amend Liquor Control Act

Author: Jacob D. Caudill

Late last month, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill concerning the prohibition against granting liquor licenses within 100 feet of a church, school, and various other locations. If approved by the Governor, the law would allow an exemption to this general prohibition.

Pursuant to 235 ILCS 5/6-11, “[n]o [liquor] license shall be issued for the sale at retail of any alcoholic liquor within 100 feet of any church, school other than an institution of higher learning, hospital, home for aged or indigent persons or for veterans, their spouses or children or any military or naval station.” Except for churches, the distance is measured between lot lines, not the distance between buildings. Not surprisingly, such a prohibition can prove troublesome for both local businesses and municipalities.

However, Senate Bill 2436 seeks to provide an exemption to this rigid prohibition. Specifically, and notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, the proposed law provides that “a local liquor control commissioner may grant an exemption to the prohibition . . . if a local rule or ordinance authorizes the local liquor control commissioner to grant that exemption.”

We will keep following this bill as it goes to the Governor for approval. It appears likely that this bill will become law as it passed unanimously in the Senate and by a vote of 97 to 17 in the House.

Jacob D. Caudill