Virginia Happy Hour (Finally) On the Brink of Being Freed

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We’ve extensively covered the lawsuit by the Pacific Legal Foundation that challenges Virginia’s law forbidding the advertising of happy hour specials by restaurants. While the case works its way through the courts, however, it appears that the Virginia legislature is on the brink of repealing the happy hour restrictions itself:

For the first time, Virginia pubs and restaurants may soon be able to plug their Margarita Mondays, Wine-down Wednesdays, and $5 Fiesta Fridays.

The Virginia state legislature gave initial approval Wednesday to House and Senate bills diluting the state’s tight laws on advertising happy-hour prices and catchy slogans, stepping up after a legal challenge filed by a popular local restaurateur.

Chef Geoff Tracy, who operates eateries in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., filed a lawsuit last year against the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Board wash away the old-fashioned advertising restrictions on First Amendment grounds…

The legislation allows liquor licensees to “advertise on or off the licensed premises and to advertise the prices of featured alcoholic beverages,” according to the legislative analysis, as well as “creative advertising marketing techniques, provided that such techniques do not induce overconsumption or induce consumption by minors.”

The identical bills breezed through their initial votes, with a 90-4 vote in the House and 40-0 in the Senate. The measures must still be read and voted on in the other chambers before going to Gov. Ralph Northam…

Read the rest here.