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Northern Idaho lawmaker introduces new liquor license plan

A northern Idaho lawmaker has introduced legislation to change the state’s 70-year-old system of doling out liquor licenses.

Under Idaho’s current law, a single liquor license is allowed for every 1,500 residents of cities. This quota system has resulted in long waiting lists, spawning complaints that system meant to promote “temperance and morality” has instead created bidding wars and rewards speculators.

Rep. Luke Malek, a Republican from Coeur d’Alene, says that system is unjust and needs to be changed.

Malek’s bill, introduced Friday, would create a new tier of licenses for restaurants that want to sell liquor by the drink. Cities and counties would be allowed to sell these licenses.

The last time the Legislature attempted to reform the state’s liquor license system was in 2009, which failed despite having the support of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

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