Anne Arundel County Delegation passes more than a dozen bills relating to liquor boards and licenses

More than a dozen bills relating to the county liquor board sailed through the Anne Arundel County Delegation Friday morning. The bills ranged from substantial changes to the board’s membership, to how application notices must be posted, how licenses work and which types of businesses can obtain them.

The bipartisan effort to revamp the county liquor board and alcohol laws come just months after the board ended a five-year battle with a county resident over a license for a liquor store off Housely Road.


The green light from the delegation will help these bills through the legislative process, but each will require a full vote of support from both the House of Delegates and the Senate. Delegates and senators of other counties often defer to local lawmakers when bills only affect specific areas of the state, though it doesn’t guarantee passage. This is often called “local courtesy."

Many of the bills had bipartisan support and passed with the support of all present members. Dels. Ned Carey, D-Brooklyn Park, and Alice Cain, D-Annapolis, were both out sick.


The delegation passed 10 bills as they were introduced, including a bill that would repeal the requirement for the board of license commissioners to post an advertisement in the newspaper 10 days in advance announcing the application’s hearing date. Instead, the bill sponsored by Del. Brian Chisholm, R-Pasadena, would allow the board of license commissioners to post the license application online at least 10 days ahead of the application hearing.

Other alcohol-related bills that passed unamended include:

House Bill 138 defines “assessment district” as a tax assessment district when relating to the issuance of certain off-sale alcoholic beverages licenses in the county.

House Bill 285 would require the Anne Arundel County Liquor Board to publish meeting agendas online at least one week in advance, and meeting minutes online no later than one month afterward. It would also require that every meeting be available to the public by live audio and video streaming online.

House Bill 330 would repeal the requirement for liquor license applications to be accompanied by a petition of support.

House Bill 554 would establish a liquor license just for small yacht clubs with more than 30 members.

House Bill 638 would alter requirements for liquor license applications to be subject to creditor claims.

House Bill 642 would establish a liquor license just for barbershops and beauty salons in the county that wish to provide limited amounts of beer or wine to their customers.


House Bill 758 requires the county liquor board to employ a full-time executive director, a full-time administrator, and two full-time secretaries whose salaries are fixed by the board within the general county classified salary schedule.

House Bill 844 would establish a permit for selling alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption at public events.

House Bill 461 would raise the salaries of part-time inspectors employed by the Anne Arundel County Liquor Board at varying levels. Del. Mark Chang, D-Glen Burnie, was recused from voting on this bill because he has an immediate family member who works as an inspector.

The delegation amended a bill that would authorize the Anne Arundel County Liquor Board to issue permits allowing any business that primarily sells gift baskets — like a florist — to include beer, wine or liquor in a basket. One amendment to House Bill 714 specifies exactly how much alcohol can be in a given basket — not more than 72 ounces of beer, or not more than 2.25 liters of wine, or not more than 2.25 liters of liquor — and requires that the recipient of the basket display proof of legal drinking age.

The delegation made minor technical and clarifying amendments to several other alcohol-related bills. The bills passed following the amendments:

House Bill 542 would alter restrictions on how many of certain liquor licenses that an individual or business can obtain.


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House Bill 430 would require that businesses with a Class B or Class H liquor license provide a signed affidavit saying alcohol sales made up less than 49% of total business, and food at least 51% in a given 12-month period. These types of licenses already require that food sales make up at least half of total sales, but lawmakers are adding the signed affidavit for an added level of accountability.

House Bill 651 would establish a liquor license just for movie theaters in the county to sell beer, wine or liquor for on-premises consumption.

House Bill 329 would change requirements for the Anne Arundel County Liquor Board posting requirements.

House Bill 844 would establish a permit for selling alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption at public events.

House Bill 757 revises the membership of the county liquor board. It requires the governor to appoint five members instead of three — one from each legislative district. It also limits each member to four consecutive terms and requires the board to elect its own chair, rather than the governor appointing the chair.

House Bill 536 would allow the liquor board to transfer a business’s license to a new location if the original location of the license is somehow destroyed by “fire, explosion, or catastrophe, taken by condemnation, or taken by the exercise of the power of an eminent domain.”


House Bill 558 would clarify the manner in which a business with an entertainment facility license — like Live! Casino — can sell alcoholic beverages. The bill also expands the definition of entertainment that qualifies a business for this type of license.