Powdered alcohol ban, Election Day booze sales pass in Senate panel

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN on May 15, 2014 

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com Buy Photo

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— Banning powdered alcohol and allowing Election Day booze sales moved forward in the State House on Thursday.

Powdered alcohol sales are not permitted in the United States yet, though an Arizona maker of Palcohol is seeking permission from federal regulators. A bill blocking sale and possession of powdered alcohol introduced last week in the Senate would need a two-thirds vote in the House to be considered since it was introduced so late in the legislative session

South Carolina is the fourth state considering a ban on powdered alcohol sales, which has raised concerns about being easier to conceal and misuse. Palcohol makers said those worries are unfounded.

South Carolina is the last state in the nation to ban Election Day alcohol sales. Stores lose $1.1 million in sales and the state loses $105,000 in taxes by not opening on Election Day, a national liquor industry group said.

A bill passed in the House would formally stop booze sales on Christmas Day. Sales are prevented only on Sundays in current state law. Stores voluntarily close on the holidays.

Representatives from the world's largest liquor maker, Diageo, and Distilled Spirits Council of the United States opposed the ban on Christmas Day, saying stores should have the option to open even if most chose to close now.

But the Senate judiciary panel, which also approved the powdered alcohol ban, kept the Christmas Day closings as part of a compromise to win Election Day sales.

Election Day alcohol sales proponents are taking no chances. A proposal to lift the ban was added to another bill on Wednesday that has passed in the House and Senate.

The bills will move to the full Senate judiciary committee next week before heading to the floor.

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