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Gov. Ricketts Signs Bottle Club Licensing Measure

Gov. Ricketts Signs Bottle Club Licensing Measure
Courtesy/Governor Ricketts signs LB 1120 alongside supporters of the bill.

Governor Ricketts signs LB 1120 alongside supporters of the bill.

 Lincoln, Neb.  — Governor Pete Ricketts  on Thursday hosted a ceremonial bill signing event in the Governor’s Hearing Room for LB 1120.  LB 1120 incorporates LB 747, which was introduced by State Senator Theresa Thibodeau of Omaha.  The bill creates a new classification for a “bottle club” license under the Nebraska Liquor Control Act.  Previously, bottle clubs had been unregulated by the state, allowing certain establishments to take advantage of a gray area in the state’s liquor licensing laws.  LB 1120 was passed 48-0-1 by the Legislature.

“Prior to LB 1120, bottle clubs in Nebraska had no oversight,” said Governor Ricketts.  “I applaud Senator Thibodeau’s leadership in helping bring reasonable protections to ensure they are complying with the same licensing rules similar establishments must follow.”

A bottle club in Nebraska is defined as “an operation, whether formally organized as a club having a regular membership list, dues, officers, and meetings or not, keeping and meeting premises where persons who have made their own purchases of alcoholic liquor congregate for the express purposes of consuming alcoholic liquor upon payment of a fee or other consideration.”

With this law, bottle clubs will be required to close between the hours of 5:00-6:00 a.m. and cannot hold another liquor license under the Nebraska Liquor Control Act.  The annual fee for a bottle club license is $300.

“With Governor Ricketts’ signing of LB 1120, Nebraska law enforcement has gained an essential tool to ensure compliance with our laws in bottle clubs,” said Senator Thibodeau.  “Paving the way for the same oversight that bars and nightclubs are subjected to, the bottle club license requirement will make our communities safer.  I am grateful for the support of Governor Ricketts and my colleagues in closing the bottle club loophole this year.”

“Senator Thibodeau and a strong coalition of Senators were right to fight to close the bottle club loophole,” said Nate Grasz, Policy Director of Nebraska Family Alliance.  “This is a much needed change that ensures those seeking to profit from sexual exploitation aren’t able to do so because of an unintentional loophole in our state liquor laws.  Nebraska Family Alliance was proud to advocate for this change to better protect vulnerable citizens and we thank the Governor for his strong support to keep our families and communities safe.”

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