RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina is about to change how local liquor stores must operate and how their leaders are expected to behave.
Gov. Beverly Perdue signed into law on Wednesday a bill approved in the final days of the General Assembly session to reform the state Alcoholic Beverage Control system and ABC package stores run by largely independent boards in towns and cities.
Perdue had sought changes to the ABC system. Momentum grew following reports on the high salaries of local board administrators in New Hanover County and meals paid for by liquor companies to local ABC leaders.
"My goal and the goal of the state and the ABC Commission at the state level is not to be big brother or big sister," she said. "I don't want that role. We're not the big hammer telling local area commissions how they have to do their business, but we are the hammer that says this belongs to the people and we do expect 100 percent accountability."
Under the new law, liquor stores will have to meet performance standards or ultimately face closure. Local ABC board members are barred from accepting gifts from contractors doing business with their panel or stores.
Most of the changes take effect Oct. 1.