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Local Policy Digest

By John Lunde and Matt Crawley | August 31, 2018
Topics: Local

MultiState's Local Policy Digest explores the top legislative developments from municipalities across the U.S.

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Kansas City City Council prepares to debate alcohol delivery ordinance. Last week, Kansas City’s Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee approved for a full city council vote an ordinance (downloads PDF) that would establish alcohol delivery services.

If passed, the ordinance would permit the sale of wine, beer, and spirits through online apps. Local business owner, Michael Doohan, supported the ordinance as another way to make money. “It’s another stream of revenue. In this day and age a lot of people, with Postmates and apps like that, people get things delivered,” said Doohan.

The ordinance includes several regulations, such as requiring customers to be over 21 years old and able to produce a valid ID. They also cannot be visibly intoxicated when purchasing alcohol. The legislation’s sponsor, Jolie Justus, stressed that all necessary alcohol restrictions would still be enforced. “We want to make sure that we are doing everything that we currently do as a city when it comes to the regulation of alcohol,” said Justus.

Councilwoman Heather Hall has asked that local law enforcement officials testify on the ordinance before the vote. The full city council is scheduled to take up the ordinance for the first time when it convenes at its August 30 meeting, where the ordinance is likely to pass.

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Judge blocks Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance. Following a legal challenge from business groups and bolstered by the Texas attorney general, the Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District blocked Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance from taking effect on October 1. The delay will give the court time to hear arguments and rule on whether the Austin ordinance is legal under state law before business owners are mandated to adopt new leave policies.

The ordinance was passed in February and sought to allow employees to accrue “one hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked,” with the potential to earn up to 64 (or eight days) of paid sick leave per year.

The court’s decision comes on the heels of the San Antonio City Council’s recent decision to become the second Texas city to pass a local sick leave initiative. However, amid state lawmakers’ pledges to introduce local sick leave preemption bills in 2019, San Antonio City Councilman Manny Pelaez said that the local sick leave policy was “dead on arrival in Austin.”

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As state-level legalization efforts go up in smoke, local anti-pot campaigns heat up in New Jersey. Despite Governor Phil Murphy’s (D) commitment to legalize marijuana, the state legislature has yet to pass any legislation on the matter. One bill proposed by State Senator Nicholas Scutari (D) would allow 218 pot retail outlets, but has yet to even receive a hearing. Now, as the legislature seems to falter on legalization, local anti-pot groups are gaining support in a number of New Jersey towns, including Scutari’s hometown of Linden.

Recently, the Linden City Council discussed an ordinance aimed at banning marijuana businesses within the city limits. The ordinance was tabled in its original form, which included bans on medical marijuana stores, but local lawmakers have vowed to revise their proposal and resubmit a version that targets recreational pot shops.

Linden Councilman John Francis Roman said he expects a vote on the revised ordinance to be held in September.


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