Alcohol

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Starting next year, tailgaters at Boise State and other Idaho universities will be allowed to legally drink alcohol while they munch their brats.

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Figures from the Idaho State Liquor Division show the state sold the most alcohol ever in the fiscal year that just wrapped up June 30. One takeaway from the data is it's always 5 o'clock somewhere in Idaho. Sales were up 6.5 percent to over 203 million dollars. Measuring by another standard, the state moved some 12.2 million bottles.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Entrance Steps Bell
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

As the Idaho Legislature wraps up its second week, lawmakers have introduced around 30 bills so far.

Boise State University Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief says that’s a little below normal, but we’ll see a lot more bills next week.

Right now, lawmakers are looking at a change to the Primary Election system in Idaho. They also want to make sure liquor licenses get used for selling booze instead of as investments. And Democrats had a suggestion for getting more teachers into rural schools.

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The Idaho State Board of Education says ticketed fans will no longer be allowed to purchase alcohol at college football games.

Board members rejected requests on Thursday to continue allowing alcohol sales at Boise State University and University of Idaho football games for the upcoming playing season.

Alcohol sales at football games were tentatively permitted by the board last year. Before, alcohol service was only approved for corporate sponsors and their guests.

A bill that would prohibit powdered alcohol in the state is headed to the Idaho House, but it'll likely face changes before lawmakers get another chance to vote on it.

Idaho State Liquor Division Jeff Anderson told the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday that powdered alcohol is prone to abuse by minors and is easily concealable. He says 27 states have already prohibited the substance.

The legislative panel unanimously sent the bill to the House floor to be amended.

Palcohol.com

Last year, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau approved a new form of powdered alcohol for recreational use. Since then, over half of U.S. states have banned the substance. Now, an Idaho legislative committee has introduced a bill that would ban it here.

Mark Phillips is the creator of Palcohol, the trademarked name for powdered alcohol. He says it’s been an uphill battle getting state legislatures to hear his case for why the substance should be legal.

The owners of the Village Cinemas in Meridian are suing the Idaho State Police because the agency wants to revoke the theater’s liquor license. The action stems from an instance last February when undercover officers say they were served alcohol at a showing of Fifty Shades of Grey, an R-rated movie about sexual fetishes. Idaho law prohibits alcohol at movies that include sexual content.

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Imagine you’re a parent and your teenager says ‘I want to have a party and I want to serve alcohol.’ Many parents would answer, not just 'no,' but 'hell no.'

But Blaine County’s sheriff says his officers are called to parent-supervised teen keggers a couple times a year. If the adults supplied booze the officers can write a ticket. Sheriff Gene Ramsey wants to be able to cite parents just for knowing about the drinking.

whiskey, alcohol, drink
Therese Tjernstrom / Flickr Creative Commons

Some Idaho business owners say the state's laws limiting the number of liquor licenses in each city stunt local economic growth.

The Idaho Statesman reports that Idaho's liquor regulation has resulted in a scarcity of liquor licenses, which in turn has caused business owners to resell licenses at exorbitant costs.

Licenses may be purchased from the state for $750 and in just two years, resold for more than $300,000.

According to Idaho law, each municipality is allotted one liquor license for every 1,500 residents.

Drugs, substance abuse
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The federal government is chipping in another $1.5 million annually over the next five years to help Idaho's efforts to fight substance abuse.

The state Office of Drug Policy announced the total $7.5 million grant on Monday.

Elisha Figueroa, administrator of the Office of Drug Policy, says the cash will help bolster community-level substance abuse prevention strategies and improve Idaho's prevention infrastructure.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Over the weekend, the state of Washington marked the one year anniversary of grocers, big box stores and other private retailers being able to sell liquor in Washington state.

The voter approved privatization initiative has sent prices unexpectedly higher, and led to significant increases in sales at Idaho stores near the Washington border.  In Washington, government is collecting more tax revenue than anticipated.