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Myers withdraws liquor closing-time bill

March 17, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr.  has withdrawn his bill to limit the hours for off-sale liquor licenses.

Myers, R-Washington/Allegany, said he received calls from people unsure about what his bill would do, so he'll work on it and refile it next year.

Myers proposed a closing time of 11 p.m. for establishments with a class A alcoholic beverages license, such as "package stores," or liquor stores. Under that license, alcohol that is purchased must be taken from the premises.

Myers said he believes many customers at liquor stores during late hours are "mostly people that got kicked out of bars."

Some stores intentionally close early to avoid those customers, he said.

Currently, the closing hour for class A licenses in Maryland varies by county.

The cutoff is midnight in some places and as late as 2 a.m. in others, according to Myers' bill, which was scheduled to be heard on Monday.

The closing hour in Washington County is 2 a.m.

Under the bill, the closing time would have become 11 p.m. for off-sale licenses, but would stay at 2 a.m. for on-sale licenses, where alcohol must be consumed at the establishment.

Myers said he didn't anticipate some of the wrinkles. For example, some establishments are a mix of bar and liquor store.

"It's more complicated than I would have imagined," Myers said. "It's something that needs a lot more work, and I'll look into probably doing it again next year."

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