Governor Signs SB9, the Title 4 Alcohol Statute Rewrite,Into Law

Today, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy signed Senate Bill 9 into law at O'Malley's On

the Green in Anchorage. The Senate Bill is a rewrite of the Alaska’s Title 4 (Alcohol) statutes and

significantly modernizes laws governing Alaska’s alcohol industry.

Senate Bill 9 is the product of a ten-year, unprecedented collaboration of more than 100 stakeholders from a diverse group of representatives from public health and safety, the alcohol industry, municipal governments, advocates for youth, legislators and countless Alaskans. The legislation is based on more than 16,000 hours of stakeholder meetings and legislative time that established many shared goals including:

  • Promoting a fair business climate while protecting public health and safety.

  • Creating rational, less bureaucratic regulation for all 3 tiers of the state’s alcohol industry.

  • Limiting youth access to alcohol, promoting responsible alcohol use, reducing overconsumption and ensuring that bootleggers have nowhere to hide.

  • Implementing without negative impacts on businesses and responsible operators.

  • Innovative fit-for-purpose licensure to match today’s alcohol operations: restructuring and reorganizing the licensing system to include clearly defined categories of licenses, permits, and a new concept of endorsements.

  • First of its kind, creative expansion of the rights of municipalities to petition for additional licenses within their boundaries.

The total Title 4 rewrite bill allows the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to regulate the alcoholic

beverage industry in a manner that promotes public safety and health while supporting the industry’s continued growth and economic viability. Senate Bill 9 also modernizes and reorganizes the 40-year-old hodge-podge of Alaska’s alcohol laws into a comprehensive and effective set of statutes. The bill retains the three-tier licensing system but creates more flexibility for small manufacturers and creates a new endorsement system to expand the boundaries of licensed businesses and accommodate special events. A more effective penalty structure is also included to protect public safety and to ensure greater compliance with Title 4.

Senator Peter Micciche, (R-Soldotna) 10-year primary sponsor of Senate Bill 9 said, “Although we

focus on opioids and other drugs, alcohol remains the number one most abused substance in Alaska. However, it is also a very important industry for those with a healthy relationship with alcohol. Senate Bill 9 is not a special interest bill, but is an “every interest” bill crafted through hard work, input and support from legislators, public health and safety, the alcohol industry, municipalities, the tourism industry and thousands of engaged Alaskans.

As a great example for the legislature, factions that began this process 180 degrees out from each other worked diligently for years to get to this point and have repeatedly provided formal support, on the record. SB 9 updates antiquated, burdensome alcohol laws with a common-sense rewrite that supports Alaska’s ever-changing alcohol, tourism and restaurant industries, while remaining focused on supporting those that struggle with the adverse effects of alcohol and putting rural bootleggers out of business. This reset of Title 4, Alaska’s alcohol statutes, will more closely align with how the alcohol industry operates today.

However, make no mistake, this bill is about the free market. It is a 127-page bill with the lion’s share related to cutting bureaucratic red tape in support of public safety, competition, and success for all concerned with the alcohol industry in Alaska. I am thankful for the commitment of our core team for working with the remainder of the stakeholders to bring this concept to reality; including Tiffany Hall from Recover Alaska, Sarah Oates from CHARR, Lee Ellis from the Brewer’s Guild of Alaska and Anna Brawley with Agnew::Beck who worked diligently with us on the project from the conception to the final passage of the bill this year. I also must mention our key funding organizations, such as the Rasmuson Foundation, the Matsu Health Foundation, the Alaska Mental Health Trust and already mentioned industry groups. This accomplishment was simply not possible without these key financial contributions and frankly, the daily operational efforts of the core 5-member team.”

“SB9 will modernize Alaska’s alcohol laws, closing loopholes, strengthening guardrails, and establishing boundaries to create a safer and healthier environment,” said Recover Alaska’s Executive Director, Tiffany Hall. “The bill is filled with science-based public health measures. We are proud and grateful to have worked alongside Senator Micciche, his staff, and dozens of stakeholders, along with the organizations leading from the very beginning – the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Rasmuson Foundation, and the Mat-Su Health Foundation. We are thrilled to finally see it pass!”

“After over two years of ongoing hardship and uncertainty, this vital legislation gives Alaska’s hospitality industry hope. Alaska CHARR is grateful to Senate President Peter Micciche and his incredible team, the Alaska Legislature, and Governor Mike Dunleavy for enacting legal alcohol reform that provide important elements that current laws lack: consistency, clarity, practicality, and - most importantly -opportunity. We are excited to see how these new laws will help Alaska hospitality shift from survival mode to an again-flourishing industry," said Sarah Oates, President and CEO of CHARR.

"The Brewer's Guild of Alaska is excited to usher in a new era for the brewing and manufacturing

industry in Alaska. We are immensely thankful for the incredible efforts of Senator Micciche, his staff, especially Konrad Jackson, the Alaska Senate, and Alaska House members who spent these years developing the solutions encompassed within SB9 to better reflect the growing local manufacturing and hospitality sectors of our economy and improve opportunities for small businesses across Alaska," said Lee Ellis, President of the Guild.

For more information, please contact Konrad Jackson in Senator Micciche’s office at 907-283-7996.