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Second time lucky? Self-serve alcohol machines again spotlighted

It’s not as though Connecticut lawmakers are trying to push a radical concept never before considered elsewhere in the country, or that their passage of a legislative bill would breed massive social unrest.

In fact, the subject matter of a bill that is quite popular – at least in the state’s House of Representatives – seems altogether mundane and unobjectionable, and likely to not even garner much interest if the would-be legislation is ultimately enacted as law.

It has a ways to go, and could have a bit of a bumpy ride in the Connecticut Senate. In fact, that body has already considered the bill once, rejecting it last year.

This time, though, the legislation’s strong bipartisan showing in the House could presage a warmer Senate reception. The measure overwhelmingly passed through the House on a 110-34 vote earlier this month, with proponents on both sides of the political aisle touting its upsides.

The bill’s focus is clear enough: It champions the ability of businesses with licenses to sell alcohol to sell spirits via self-serving machines. Its broad-based advocates say that the machines would command strong utility in the craft beer and wine industry by promoting Connecticut products that consumers could sample.

As stated above, the idea is hardly novel. If the bill passes, Connecticut would join 39 other states that already sell alcohol from such machines.

The concerns of law enforcers and regulators concerning illegal consumption and related concerns are arguably well addressed. A would-be imbiber would first have to confirm that he or she is 21. Once that is proved, a card is sold that limits the amount of dispensed alcohol. The card is nontransferable.

“I don’t see this in any way contributing to more drinking,” says one legislator.

We will keep readers updated on any material developments that occur with the legislation, including its fate in the Senate.

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