A bill that would get the state out of the alcohol distribution business is on its way to the Senate after passing by an overwhelming majority Wednesday in the House.
The House also passed a bill allowing alcohol sales from food trucks and another that would prohibit municipalities from passing ordinances to restrict home-based businesses.
House Bill 512 passed by a 113-2 margin and is now headed to the Senate. The deadline is March 1 for a committee in the Senate (the bill doesn’t have a committee assignment yet) to approve it for a floor vote.
The bill is authored by state Rep. Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia and would end the state’s monopoly of the liquor and wine distribution business by January 1, 2023 in favor of having private wholesalers fill the void. The bill would also lower the excise tax on wine and spirits from 27.5 percent to 18 percent.
The excise tax would also be collected by the Department of Revenue’s Alcoholic Beverage Control in a different fashion. Right now, the 27.5 percent tax is assessed on each bottle sold from the Gluckstadt warehouse, but the lower rate would be assessed on wholesalers on their gross proceeds from each wholesale purchase by a retailer.
Another alcohol-related bill, HB 918, also passed on Wednesday. The bill is authored by state Rep. Missy McGee, R-Hattiesburg, and would allow an on-premises retailer to sell alcoholic beverages off-premises from a food truck. Sales would have to be conducted in a valid recreational district and 25 percent of the food truck’s sales would have to be food.
The bill passed by a 95-16 vote and is now in the hands of the Senate.
The House also passed HB 917, also known as the Home-based Opportunity Freedom Act.
It was authored by state Rep. Jansen Owen, R-Poplarville and would prohibit municipalities from regulating or restricting home-based work. Local governments wouldn’t be allowed to license home-based businesses, restrict usage of the home space for business purposes or require rezoning for commercial purposes. It’s a similar bill to one passed in Florida and Arkansas last year.
It passed by a 96-12 vote, but a reverse repealer (a legislative tactic that allows a bill to stay alive so lawmakers can do more work on it) was added before it was sent to the Senate. This means the bill can’t go to Gov. Tate Reeves’ desk until it is removed.
Jackson is one of three cities (Biloxi and Southaven are the other two) that have ordinances that restrict home-based businesses and has the most restrictive ordinance. Its ordinance requires a Home Occupation Permit and prohibits all retail sales out of the home, meaning online stores based out of the home are illegal in Jackson. It also prohibits a non-resident, non-family member from working for a home-based business. It also prohibits any increase in traffic related to a home-based business (like for in-person appointments).
Biloxi’s ordinance restricts a home-based business to no more than 15 percent of the floor area of a home and forbids machinery that isn’t normally used for “domestic” purposes.
Southaven prohibits on-premises retail sales, restricts parking to the driveway only and forbids a non-resident from working in a home-based business.