LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – The Senate version of a bill allowing public universities to sell alcohol in their stadiums during sporting events passed the House, 85-23 Tuesday, with mixed support from Democrats.
The bill now heads to the Senate to concur on a minor House change so it can be sent to the Governor.
With immediate effect approved in both chambers, it’s possible the new law would be in effect for the coming football season.
Reps. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck), Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield), Felicia Brabec (D-Ann Arbor), Erin Byrnes (D-Dearborn), Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City), Alabas A. Farhat (D-Dearborn), Sharon MacDonell (D-Troy), Denise Mentzer (D-Mount Clemens), Reggie Miller (D-Belleville), Phil Skaggs (D-Grand Rapids) and Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills) voted no on Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo)’s SB 247, which would allow all 15 of Michigan’s public universities to sell beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks to the general public, instead of only to the luxury suite owners and guests who can buy booze now.
Universities would be able to purchase up to five tavern licenses or five Class C licenses under the bill. Beverages could be sold an hour before a game through its conclusion.
Rep. Graham Filler (R-St. Johns), who sponsored HB 4328, the House’s version of the legislation, said the package will allow attendees to drink more safely, implying that sports fans would feel less pressured to rush during a pregame.
He was joined in support by Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit), who said the bill will restore fairness for all attendees.
But Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) “implored” colleagues who believe in Big 10 schools in Michigan to think twice before voting yes on the package.
“Tailgates usually accomplish the goal of getting folks warmed up before the game,” he said.
“I would just implore my colleagues who really believe in the Big 10 schools here in Michigan, and all the other ancillary schools in our great state, that you just think twice before you vote today,” Aiyash said, “whether or not we should make our fans drunk in the middle of a beautiful sports match that so many of us enjoy.”
In addition to several Democratic no’s, Republican Reps. William Bruck (R-Erie), Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers), Cam Cavitt (R-Cheboygan), Nancy DeBoer (R-Holland), James DeSana (R-Carleton), Joseph D. Fox (R-Fremont), Neil Friske (R-Charlevoix), Phil Green (R-Millington), Matt Maddock (R-Milford), Luke Meeman (R-Coopersville), Josh Schriver (R-Oxford) and Rachelle Smit (R-Shelbyville) voted no on the bill.