IDAHO, USA — Senate Bill 1120 passed in the House on Thursday, March 23, and now moves to Governor Little's desk. The bill would restrict the ability to resell a new liquor license after July, 1 2023 and states that a license administered before that date can only be sold one more time.
"Idaho utilizes a population-based method to regulate the density of retail liquor-by-the-drink licenses. This system has come to be known as the “quota system.” Unintentionally, this system has created a speculative market for liquor licenses. This legislation will end that speculative opportunity for licenses issued after July 1, 2023, because they will no longer have that transfer option. Realizing that current quota license holders may have a significant investment in their license, the bill will allow current quota licensees to sell their license one time. Thereafter, those licenses will also be non-transferable," the bill states.
These exemptions exist to allow current license holders a chance to receive back the funds they already invested into the license, bill sponsor Sen. Jim Guthrie (R-McCammon) told KTVB.
As KTVB previously reported, the movement of the bill was not welcomed by all bar owners in the city. Ted Challenger, owner of Dirty Little Roddy's, New Amsterdam, Strange Love, and Club Karma, said, "I just bought one for [Club Karma] a year ago, and I paid $350,000."
The waitlist to receive a license from the state is long, according to Challenger. Some people wait a decade before they reach the front of the line.
"It's to limit liquor so beer sales capture more of the market," Challenger said. "I am dropping my prices on liquor to match beer. I'm gonna work toward pushing more people toward liquor and pricing beer out."
Challenger planned to lease his licenses to local bar tenders in a long-term deal so they could own his businesses someday. He said if SB1120 were to become law, he would then sell his license to the highest bidder once he wants to leave the industry.
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