State News

Lawmakers form alcohol control study committee

Posted February 18, 2010 11:33 a.m. EST
Updated February 18, 2010 11:42 a.m. EST

— Legislative leaders have asked a study committee to complete a big job in a short time by suggesting reforms to North Carolina's alcohol sales system before the General Assembly reconvenes in May.

Senate leader Marc Basnight and House Speaker Joe Hackney announced Thursday a 28-member study committee will review the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control system.

“Our ABC system needs to evolve just like any other business,” Hackney said in a statement. “We need to determine how best to make these changes and bring our system in line with modern-day standards of ethics and transparency.”

The panel follows a WRAL Investigates report that the former New Hanover County ABC board administrator made $244,000 a year. Media also reported that a liquor company picked up the tab for an expensive dinner attended by Mecklenburg County ABC leaders.

The committee will consider the feasibility of private companies selling alcohol instead of government boards. Only local ABC boards can sell spirits. State government has limited control over how those agencies are operated.

“We already know that we need more accountability and ethics reform in the ABC system. What we need to explore further is what is working now and what we can improve,” Basnight said in a statement.