Current Illinois law prohibits establishments, such as a restaurant, from serving alcohol within 100 feet of a religious institution, school, hospital or military station. The law paints all communities with a single brush instead of allowing local leaders to determine the restrictions that will best serve their businesses and residents. While the law provides a mechanism for establishments to seek an exemption from this state prohibition, it requires an entrepreneur have legislation drafted, passed by the legislature, and signed by the Governor. Most small business owners simply cannot tackle this burdensome process.
Governor Rauner has already taken a firm stance on this issue. On January 26th of this year, he vetoed legislation requesting an exemption of the Liquor Control Act to authorize a liquor license of a specific establishment in Chicago. In the accompanying veto message, the Governor made it clear that he would not sign another exemption and that the General Assembly should send legislation to permanently address this issue to his desk.
The SBAC is focused on a common-sense solution that will remove this obstacle to economic development and give local oversight on such licensing issues. State Senator Chris Nybo (R-Lombard) introduced SB 2436, which would return licensing requests in these cases, back to local control, rather than requiring legislators from all corners of the state deciding the fate of a business hundreds of miles away. On February 27th, this measure passed the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support and now awaits further action in the House.