TOPEKA — The commerce committee in the House mulled over a bill Tuesday targeting third-shift workers, night-owl Kansans and breakfast eaters drawn to consumption of alcoholic beverages in the early morning at bars and restaurants.
Under House Bill 2482, liquor could be served an extra three hours each day at Kansas businesses. The window would be expanded from the current standard of 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Service would broaden to 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. if the measure cleared the 2018 Legislature and was signed by the governor.
Bill supporter Jon Rolph, president of Sasnak Management, manages a family-owned business operating 45 restaurants in Kansas and six other states. He said Kansas statute hindered a new Wichita restaurant, HomeGrown, that opens at 6:30 a.m. daily to serve breakfast, brunch and lunch.
“It came to our surprise, having only been in the daytime business of serving food and alcohol, that you can’t serve until 9 a.m.,” Rolph said. “It creates confusion, not only for the guests that come in at 8:30 a.m. and have to wait a half hour, but also for our staff to look at the clock.”
Philip Bradley, a proponent for the bill and lobbyist with the Kansas Licensed Beverage Association, said Kansas law ought to respect the desire of third-shift employees and others staying up through the night to find a place to unwind.
“We have been sorely lacking in that unless those folks want to wait until 9 a.m.,” Bradley said. “This would alleviate that problem.”
Rep. Les Mason, R-McPherson, said the House bill would resolve the third-shift issue and bring uniformity to dining establishments statewide. He intends to support the bill, and he predicted it could gain traction in the GOP-led Legislature.
“You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow when we try to take action, but if I had to judge it would probably pass with flying colors,” Mason said.
Rep. Brandon Whipple, D-Wichita, and several of his House peers were curious whether a large number of people requested alcoholic beverages so early in the morning. Early morning drink orders are more common on weekends than from Monday through Friday, Rolph said.
The House Commerce Committee took no action on the bill.