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Michigan Liquor Control Commission Announces Support for Veterans' Clubs Legislation

Media Contact: LARA Communications (517) 373-9280

December 6, 2017 – The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) announced its support today for legislation that would allow certain private membership clubs that fall under a national umbrella – such as VFW, Elks, and Moose clubs – to directly serve members from reciprocal clubs, subject to the specific language of the bill.

Over the last several weeks, the MLCC worked with Senator Rick Jones to introduce legislation that will codify a club’s ability to serve alcohol to reciprocal members of their respective organizations.

“State law currently requires an out-of-town veteran visiting a local club to rely on others to purchase a beer for him or her,” said MLCC Chairman Andy Deloney. “Under this new legislation, veterans will have the freedom and the flexibility to buy themselves a beer as they visit with friends and other veterans. It makes a lot of sense to make these updates to the law and we were pleased to be part of the process.”

The bill would amend the Michigan Liquor Control Code to define “bona fide members” as that term pertains to the sale of alcohol under a club license:

“For an incorporated or unincorporated nonprofit veterans’ organization that is a branch or chapter of a national organization or an organization chartered by the United States Congress, a bona fide member includes a member of another branch or chapter who possesses an identification card indicating current membership in the same national or Congressionally chartered veterans’ organization. For a branch, chapter, lodge, aerie, or other local unit of a national fraternal nonprofit association that is exempt from federal income taxes under Section 501(C)(8) or 501(C)(10) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 USC 501, a bona fide member includes a member of another branch, chapter, lodge, aerie, or local unit who possesses an identification card indicating current membership in the same national fraternal nonprofit organization.”

A club license allows the licensee to sell – for consumption on licensed premises – beer, wine, mixed spirit drinks, and spirits only to bona fide members of the club who have attained the age of 21 years.

Senate Bill 662 amends 1998 PA 58, by amending section 532 (MCL 436.1532), as added by 2001 PA 223. It was referred out of the Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform today, on a 9-0 vote.

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