When the state or a local licensing authority issues a final decision suspending an alcohol beverage license or permit for 14 or fewer days, current law permits an alcohol beverage license or permit holder to petition the licensing authority for permission to pay a fine in lieu of the suspension. The licensing authority, in its sole discretion, may permit the licensee or permit holder to pay a fine if it is satisfied that:
- Public welfare and morals will not be impaired by allowing the licensee to operate during the suspension period and that payment of a fine achieves the appropriate discipline;
- The licensee's books and records show, with reasonable accuracy, the licensee's projected loss of sales if the suspension occurs; and
- The licensee has not had a license or permit suspended or revoked and has not had a suspension stayed by payment of a fine within the last 2 years.
The bill allows a licensee, regardless of the length of an ordered suspension, to petition the licensing authority for permission to pay a fine in lieu of the suspension. Additionally, the licensee may petition to pay a fine, and the licensing authority may grant the petition, regardless of whether the licensee had a license suspended or paid a fine in lieu of a suspension within the prior 2 years. The bill retains the requirement that a licensee must not have had a license or permit revoked within the prior 2 years in order to petition to pay a fine in lieu of a suspension.