SB 5229

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As of January 29, 2017

Title: An act relating to authorizing theaters with more than four screens to obtain a license to sell beer and wine.

Brief Description: Authorizing theaters with more than four screens to obtain a license to sell beer and wine.

Sponsors: Senators Honeyford, Keiser, King, Conway, Chase and Saldaña.

Brief History:

Committee Activity: Commerce, Labor & Sports: 1/25/17.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Eliminates the requirement that theater be limited to maximum of four movie screens for a beer, strong beer, and wine license.


Staff: Richard Rodger (786-7461)

Background: Certain theaters are authorized to obtain a license allowing the theater to sell beer, strong beer, and wine at retail for on-premise consumption. To be eligible for this theater license, the theater may not have more than four movie screens.

If minors are allowed in the theater, the theater must submit an alcohol control plan to the Liquor and Cannabis Board for approval. Any person serving alcohol must have completed a mandatory alcohol server training program. The maximum fines and suspensions for violations involving minors or failure to follow an alcohol control plan are doubled for theaters.

Summary of Bill: The theater license authorizing the sale of beer, strong beer, and wine is no longer limited to theaters with up to four screens.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.

Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: The current limit on movie theaters that does not allow for a beer and wine license if the theater has more than four screens makes no economic sense. The current law makes it an economic disadvantage to try to expand their businesses. We should have policies that encourage businesses to grow. About one-half of the theaters in the state have four or more screens. These theaters are losing customers to the small businesses that can sell beer and wine.

OTHER: We are just concerned about the proliferation of alcohol at additional businesses and the potential for minors to get access to it in a dark theater. The bill will require the LCB to have additional staff to inspect these additional facilities. Our concern is with youth access and the community normalization of alcohol. These theaters should have separate areas for individuals 21 years of age and older who want to consume alcohol.

Persons Testifying: PRO: Senator Jim Honeyford, Prime Sponsor; Raymond K Hallett, Hallett Cinemas LLC; Jeff Fairchild, Owner, Fairchild Cinemas. OTHER: Seth Dawson, Wash. Assoc. for Substance Abuse Prevention; James Paribello, WSLCB.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.