Bill to allow drinking at university sporting events gets tanked

Arizona House Bill 2785, which would allow beer and wine to be sold at concession stands at university sporting events, did not advance to a committee. (Photo by Beth Easterbrook)

Arizona House Bill 2785, the proposal to allow concession stands at university stadiums in Arizona to serve beer and wine during sporting events, was turned down by House Republicans Wednesday, Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, said.

This was the last week for bills to be assigned to a committee, but HB 2785 was never heard.

“The bill is dead. It’s not moving forward,” Ableser said. “The Republicans didn’t want to move it. We’ll pursue this next year.”

Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, said the bill isn’t necessarily a dead bill and has a chance of being amended in the future.

“Republican chairmen have not been willing to hear or discuss the bill,” he said. “(But) no bill is dead until legislature is adjourned.”

The bill was inspired by West Virginia University’s approval of a similar bill in 2011 allowing the controlled sale of alcohol at its sporting events.

“(WVU) found tremendous success and found that other colleges have really started looking at allowing (alcohol at) concession stands,” Ableser said.

If the bill would have been approved, Ableser said, it would have created better regulation of students who already smuggle alcohol into sporting events. It would also increase revenue that could go back into the University and its athletic department.

“I think that controlled environment creates tremendous amount of safety positives for a university,” he said. “This is a market that we’re losing for the University, and it can create an extensive amount of revenue that’s spilled back into our University.”

Patterson said the lack of Republican interest in helping higher education with budget costs is disappointing. He will keep trying to find bills to help raise money for all three of Arizona’s universities.

ASU, along with NAU and UA, have not taken an official stance on the bill.

However, Katie Paquet, Arizona Board of Regents’ associate vice president for public affairs and external relations, said ABOR is not opposed to the bill, but does want to see more research conducted before anything changes.

The concern of what the bill could potentially mean for the University’s image as a party school is irrelevant, Ableser said.

“I think (President) Dr. Crow has completely crushed that perception,” he said. “We’re so far from being considered a party school, I think that’s completely gone from the vernacular of individuals.”

Reach the reporter at sraymund@asu.edu

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