They’re looking to get a bill through committee by hastily amending it and then removing a procedural hurdle that would require that the public and the People of Illinois receive notice of a proper hearing and have time to review and submit comment and address legislation that REMOVES THE ABILITY OF EVERY ILLINOIS CITY, TOWN, and VILLAGE TO REGULATE DELIVERY OF ALCOHOL (except Chicago of course), potentially defies Supreme Court precedent regarding taxation, screws over small in-town retailers in favor of large out-of-town retailers, and also still seeks to address only delivery and not shipping.

That’s right, legislators are pushing a bill that helps their big-box retailer donors – likely because those big-box retailers don’t want to figure out alcohol compliance issues – and just want to remove the age-old rights of every city, village, and town in Illinois (except Chicago) to determine how alcohol sales and delivery happen.

You can see the status of the poorly drafted – and now poorly updated – piece of legislation was sneakily amended on Monday and then a procedural hurdle was speedily removed to allows a committee hearing without proper notice or without giving the People of Illinois and their local municipalities a chance to review and address the legislation.

As it stands, this most recent iteration of the Senate Bill 54 (which we wrote about here and here) doesn’t just threaten local municipalities independence by removing their right to determine where,when, how and if alcohol deliveries and shipping can occur, it does so in favor of Chicago, which it exempts from the legislation – effectively telling every person who lives in a city or town that isn’t Chicago, that big-box retailers pushing this bill can buy or lobby their way to screwing the People of Illinois out of their rights to self-determination.

And besides showing how State Representatives care more about their big-box retailer supporters and not the voters that elected them, the bill also:

  • Treats both “shipping” and “delivery” as the same thing for a small section of the bill regarding methods for accomplishing shipping or delivery but then leaves “shipping” out of the requirements to do things like verify the age of a recipient. NO JOKE – the hastily drafted amendment now includes shipping in one small part, but then only addresses the regulation of “delivery” – See for yourself – “shipping” isn’t regulated, only deliver is:

Any person making a delivery of alcoholic liquors shall ensure that (1) the recipient demonstrates, upon delivery, that he or she is at least 21 years of age, and the party making the delivery verifies the age of the recipient by adequate written evidence of age and identity consistent with subsection (a) of Section 6-16 of this Act; (2) deliveries are not made to a consumer who is visibly intoxicated; (3) deliveries are made within the State of Illinois; and (4) if the person making the delivery is a third-party contractor or agent with whom a licensed retailer has contracted to make deliveries, he or she does not warehouse or otherwise maintain an inventory of alcoholic liquors.

  • Screws over local retailers in favor of the large out of city retailers and means small towns can’t look to get some form of tax or fee for these deliveries to their residents:

A unit of local government shall not prohibit or regulate the ability of a consumer to order or receive unopened original packaged alcoholic liquors by licensed retailers that are located outside the unit of local government’s boundaries. However, a unit of local government may regulate delivery within its boundaries by retailers that are physically located within the unit of local government’s boundaries.

  • Potentially defies Supreme Court precedent in the Wayfair decision and sets up a taxation fight with other states for Illinois retailers selling into other states by creating a law that addresses the locus for electronic, online and telephonic sales that says online sales happen in Illinois regardless of the location of the customer as the word “subsection” is used in discussing  regulation and addresses internet sales, but fails to discuss the potential that Illinois retailers may be able to ship into other states and are therefore subject to other states’ regimes:

For the purposes of this subsection and except as otherwise provided in this subsection, sales through electronic, online, telephone, or other means, such as third-party applications or other software connecting recipients and licensed retailers, shall be treated as sales by the retailer if the alcoholic liquors delivered to the recipient are made available from the inventory of the licensed retailer.

  • Exempts Chicago:

Except for a municipality with a population of more than 1,000,000 inhabitants, a home rule unit may not regulate (i) the delivery of or (ii) the ordering or receiving for delivery by consumers of alcoholic liquors in a manner inconsistent with this subsection.

You should contact your Illinois Legislator and demand that they explain why they want to take rights away from the People of Illinois and money out of local treasuries to help a few big-box retailers that don’t want to figure out local liquor compliance issues.