Top court upholds decision SB 608 violates state Constitution, ending battle
OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 22, 2020) – The Oklahoma Supreme Court has upheld a district court’s decision ruling Senate Bill 608 unconstitutional and invalid, ending a legal battle which lasted several months.
SB 608, which passed the Legislature during the 2019 session, sought to roll back beneficial reforms to the state’s alcohol-distribution system voters approved under State Question 792. The measure would have forced wine and spirits producers to sell to every licensed wholesaler in the state, including those which do not agree to basic quality and inventory controls. It would have added a burden not required on other products.
“From the beginning, the Institute for Responsible Alcohol Policy has said a statute cannot overrule voter-approved constitutional reforms,” IRAP President John Maisch said. “We are happy the Supreme Court agreed with the District Court, defended the voice of the people and put this issue to rest.”
IRAP led a coalition of interests from across the alcohol industry to invalidate SB 608.
“Our members continue to work with retailers across Oklahoma to provide the service and products customers demand,” Maisch said.
SQ 792 allowed the sale of cold, regular strength beer and wine at more retail locations, including package liquor stores. It also gave producers the right to secure contracts with wholesalers to fulfill the suppliers’ standards regarding quality control, inventory management, sales information, marketing, intellectual property protection and other matters.
About the Institute for Responsible Alcohol Policy
The Institute for Responsible Alcohol Policy (IRAP) is a nonprofit corporation which represents the interests of alcohol wholesalers in Oklahoma. IRAP supports policies consistent with wholesalers’ role of serving as a conduit for alcoholic beverages produced or imported into Oklahoma.