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BOISE -- The Senate has agreed the Nez Perce Tribe should be able to serve martinis and other cocktails when it opens a new convention center on the Clearwater River.

The chamber voted 27-7 Thursday in favor of granting the tribe a license to sell liquor-by-the-drink and making an exemption in the state's liquor law.

The bill has already cleared the House and now heads to Gov. C.L. Butch Otter's desk.

Supporters like Sandpoint Republican Sen. Shawn Keough say a liquor license is critical to making the tribe's new convention center appealing and competitive in the northwest market. The facility would be the latest addition to the tribe's casino and 50-room hotel outside Lewiston.

Idaho's strict 1947 liquor law meant to promote temperance forbids liquor licenses outside city limits without an exemption.

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