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Update: Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 5:33 p.m.:
Senate Bill 298--which would move alcohol sales in restaurants, private clubs, wineries and distilleries on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 10 a.m.--has passed the final needed approval in the House. Earlier Saturday, the Senate concurred with House amendments to the bill but had made a title amendment. The House has accepted the title amendment.
The bill would only allow for on-premise consumption and also requires each county to pass a referendum to allow for the move of the sale time.
From Our Original Post at Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 12:10 p.m.:
Members of the West Virginia Senate have unanimously agreed to amendments made to Senate Bill 298, referred to as the brunch bill.
As amended by the House, the bill will allow voters to determine if restaurants, private clubs, wineries and distilleries in their county should be allowed to sell alcohol beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays. The bill would only allow on-premise consumption.
The amendment was added to the bill in the House Committee on Roads and Transportation.
House Speaker Tim Armstead had previously said the bill was not a priority this legislative session for his chamber, but businesses across the state supported it, calling it an economic development measure.
Sen. Chris Walters, the bill's lead sponsor, said he was happy to see the bill make it through the legislative process, but he would have preferred a bill without the county referendum.
"I do not believe this bill goes far enough to allow our small businesses every opportunity to be successful," he said in a written statement. "I am hopeful [though] we will revisit this topic next year to expand these freedoms."
Senators amended the title of the bill Saturday morning, returning the bills to the House. If Delegates concur in the title amendment, the bill will head to Governor Tomblin for a possible signature.