Opponents Continue to Fight Michigan's Half-Mile Liquor Rule Reform


Last year, Michigan's Liquor Control Commission repealed the state's anti-competitive "half-mile rule," which prohibited liquor stores from operating within a half-mile of each other. Incumbent liquor store responded by trying to get the state legislature to overrule the Commission's decision, although these efforts have so far failed to clear the state House. According to the Detroit News, opponents of the reform are now trying to use the courts to block it:

A long-running battle over Michigan’s prohibition against liquor stores operating within a half-mile of each other is back in court as existing small business owners try to stop the state from eliminating the distance requirement.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello in January temporarily blocked plans to rescind the liquor store rule after the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers sued the state for a second time. Borrello is set to hear arguments in the case on March 19.

Eliminating the rule would cause “irreparable harm” to thousands of liquor store owners who “have invested substantial sums, time and sweat” to obtain state licenses with the expectation a competitor could not open next door, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint seeks to keep the four-decade-old rule in place while the Michigan House considers a Senate-approved bill that would write the 2,640-foot distance requirement into state law.

But the Liquor Control Commission says the rule squashes competition and is seeking to dismiss the case. Attorney General Bill Schuette’s Office argues the state followed proper protocols for rescinding the rule...

Read more here.