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‘Brunch Bill’ advances to House Judiciary Committee

WVPA Staff Report

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  The “Brunch Bill” — amended to include a county option — advanced to the House Judiciary Committee Thursday and one step closer to a floor  vote in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

The House Roads and Transportation Committee passed the bill, which would allow restaurants and bars to sell alcohol beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays; however, the bill, with the addition of the county option, now requires each individual county to hold a referendum on allowing earlier alcohol sales on Sundays.

Carol Fulks, executive director of West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association, on Thursday thanked all those supporting the bill.

“Thanks to the many who rallied at the Capitol today and those who called and emailed,” Fulks said. “A huge thank you goes out to Chairman Marty Gearheart, R-Mercer, and the members of the Roads and Transportation Committee. The Brunch Bill passed the Roads and Transportation committee with only one no vote.”

Fulks said the bill – SB 298 – was amended to include the local county option and also had language changed to remove retail sales or off premise sales in hopes of improving its chances of passage by the House.

“In order for this bill to pass, this is going to be an amendment that we’ll need to adopt,” Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “I’d rather have three-quarters of a loaf than no loaf at all.”

However, with just nine days remaining in the session and House Speaker Tim Armstead on record saying he did not see the “Brunch Bill” as a priority, Fulks said the bill still has a long way to go. She was working Thursday evening to get supporters into action with calls and emails to the House Judiciary committee.

With a push from supporters, and approval of the tourism industry, restaurant and bar owners and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Fulks hopes the full House gets an opportunity to vote on the bill.

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