OKLAHOMA CITY - Senate members have signed an alcohol modernization bill out of conference committee, days before they are expected to wrap up session work.
Senate Bill 1173, authored by Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City and Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, sets up regulatory framework on alcohol sales.
In 2016, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 792, which amended the Oklahoma constitution to allow the sale of wine and full-strength beer in grocery stores plus refrigerated beer and other items in liquor stores.
"We need to set up very basic things, like how do you remove old product, how do you put new product in, what does that process look like?" Echols said. "Those are things we’re dealing with in this bill."
According to a Senate spokesperson, signing it out committee conference means Senators have agreed to advance it; however, that bill has yet to be heard on the Senate floor. Bice declined to do an interview with News 4 on Tuesday.
For stores like Byron's on N.W. 23rd Street, operations manager Jason McCormick said it's a matter of waiting how to proceed though they've been planning since 2016.
"We are renovating our parking lot. We are going to extend the store out on the north side, as well. We’re really excited. Preparing, we’re still kind going through the process," McCormick said. "It is a little nerve-wracking to sit back not knowing what we are going to be able to do in October, especially with the deadline coming so close."
We asked Echols what happens if the bill doesn't pass.
"It needs to pass. I mean, there is no ‘what if.' The bottom line is it will pass this week," he said. "These are the rules of the game that everybody lives by. Without set rules, you can run into some real issues."
According to Echols, it will be heard in the Senate first before the House.