State News

Groups differ on new rules for ABC system

Posted May 5, 2010 5:23 p.m. EDT
Updated May 5, 2010 6:05 p.m. EDT

— A legislative committee recommending changes to North Carolina's liquor control laws fell short of suggestions made by a separate panel appointed by Gov. Beverly Perdue.

The Joint Study Committee on Alcoholic Beverage Control approved legislation Wednesday that it will present to the General Assembly when it reconvenes next week.

The committee wants the state ABC Commission to set performance standards and training requirements for local ABC boards and their stores. The local boards also would have to follow the same rules local governments do in carrying out their annual budget.

Perdue's government efficiency commission met earlier Wednesday and said it wanted local ABC board members to comply with the state government ethics law. The ABC Commission chairman welcomed the idea, which the legislative committee removed from its final bill.

North Carolina is the only state that runs a liquor control system that leaves locally appointed boards to operate retail stores. The system has led to some embarrassing situations recently, including high-priced meals for local ABC officials that were paid for by liquor companies and high salaries of a father and son who ran New Hanover County's liquor stores.

Perdue's efficiency commission also recommended changes to the state air fleet on Wednesday. Merging the aircraft operations of the Departments of Transportation and Commerce would improve the efficiency in how state-owned planes and maintenance facilities are used, as well as save money, the panel said.