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Council urges state legislators to reject proposed bills to allow alcohol sales via phone, delivery
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KENOSHA CITY COUNCIL

Council urges state legislators to reject proposed bills to allow alcohol sales via phone, delivery

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Ald. Dominic Ruffalo said he has seen firsthand how alcoholism destroys lives, including the life of the alcoholic.

Ruffalo said it was why he sponsored a resolution encouraging the Kenosha City Council to oppose two separate bills that are being considered by the Wisconsin State Senate that would allow customers to order alcohol by phone to be picked up or delivered to them directly.

The council voted unanimously Monday night to urge state legislators to vote down the two bills.

Many people developed different habits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Health experts are now seeing that heavy alcohol consumption was one of them.

Senate bills

Under Senate Bill 56, most alcoholic beverage retailers would be able take phone or online orders and sell alcoholic beverages to be picked up in parking spaces on their premises. The bill would prohibit municipalities from imposing additional restrictions on the sales.

The second, Senate Bill 57, allows retailers to offer delivery of alcoholic beverages directly to the customer either by the retailer or via a third-party delivery service.

Dominic Ruffalo

Ruffalo

“You could either call up, (or) go online, order your alcohol, drive to their parking lot, and it would somehow be delivered to your car,” Ruffalo said of Senate Bill 56.

If Senate Bill 56 was in effect, Ruffalo said local regulation would be taken away from cities.

“That’s taking all of it out of our hands,” he said during the meeting.

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“Senate Bill 57 is the most disturbing one of all. I don’t know who comes up with these bills and thinks it’s such a good idea. You could call up an establishment and a third party, Uber, Uber Eats, Yahoo, Amazon … and have (alcoholic drinks) delivered to your house. Alcohol. Oh, my heavens.”

Grim picture

Ruffalo said he believes both bills would lead to more alcoholism.

“An alcoholic in his final stages doesn’t leave … his or her house. Shut the drapes and they drink,” he said.

Ruffalo painted a grim picture in describing how an alcoholic would die having ease of access to delivered alcohol.

“They would go online, have it delivered at their house. And that’s how they would spend their last days. It’s pretty bleak,” he said. “The recovery community would be appalled if this bill would pass. It’s terrible. Both of these bills are terrible.”

A law passed earlier this spring allows restaurants and bars to sell alcoholic beverages, such as wine and mixed drinks, dispensed into containers that are sealed at the establishment and prepared for pick up. The law, which had bipartisan support, was intended to help restaurants and taverns struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ruffalo said the law passed without sunset restrictions, however.

“It’s here forever,” he said.

Communities should be empowered to establish more treatment centers and hospitals to help alcoholics and drug-addicted individuals, not to enable delivery of wine, beer and liquor, according to Ruffalo.

He said he hoped that the council’s support would send a “firm message to Madison that we’ve had enough.”

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