Patrick Wartan | Taft Stettinius & Hollister | August 10, 2018

On Aug. 2, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law Public Act 100-0663 , which amends the Liquor Control Act and gives local governments the flexibility to grant liquor licenses for locations that are within 100 feet of any church, school, hospital, home foraged or indigent persons or for veterans. Under the new Act, local liquor control commissioners are authorized to grant exemptions to the current minimum distance requirements if the municipality adopts a local rule or ordinance authorizing the exemptions.

Prior to Public Act 100-0663, state liquor licenses were generally unavailable for locations within the minimum distance requirements, which prevented retailers from selling liquor in locations otherwise suited for such commercial activity. If a liquor establishment was within the minimum distance requirement, its remedy was to seek a special legislative exemption from the Illinois General Assembly, which can be a costly and burdensome process.

While the new law does not eliminate the state’s minimum distance requirement, it does grant municipalities the authority to waive the requirement, subsequently allowing liquor license applicants to receive an exemption without special legislation. Now, local liquor control commissioners may grant an exemption if a local rule or ordinance authorizes the local liquor control commissioner to do so.

Opening a liquor establishment near a church, school, hospital, home for aged or indigent persons or for veterans has been traditionally viewed as, at worst, impossible, and at best, an overly complicated immense time drain. Public Act 100-0663 is a significant step in streamlining the process. Only time will tell how this newfound flexibility will work as Chicago and other municipalities draft exemptions.

If you have questions about Public Act 100-0663, contact Patrick Wartan or a member of Taft’s Food and Beverage practice.