LANSING – On Tuesday, Gov. Whitmer signed legislation into law that will allow alcohol to be sold at college sporting events and make liquor-to-go permanent.
The first bill signed by Whitmer on July 18 now allows sporting venues at public universities to sell alcohol. Schools like the University of Michigan and Michigan State University will join 11 other Big Ten schools that can sell alcohol at sporting events.
Universities that sell alcohol at sporting events report that the number of alcohol-related incidents is lower now that sales are legal at their venues. Legislators believe the law may reduce binge drinking, theorizing that people would not drink in excess before games if they knew they had access to alcohol during games.
“Authorizing the legal sale of alcohol at [college] sporting events will bring us on equal footing with other universities, help reduce the likelihood of binge drinking before games and bring in a heck of a lot more revenue that we can use to improve the student experience,” Whitmer said. “I am proud that we are getting this done and making fall evenings at the Spartan Stadium or the Big House safer and more fun.”
Whitmer also signed a bill into law Tuesday that makes the state’s “liquor-to-go” policy permanent. That policy was made during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to help small businesses continue making sales and stay open while following CDC guidelines.
Making the “liquor-to-go” policy permanent could generate more revenue for restaurants, according to the governor’s office.
“The bipartisan bills I am signing today are about fairness, safety and revenue,” Whitmer said.
“I applaud the governor for recognizing the inherent fairness issues contained in Senate Bill 247 and her signature on my legislation,” said State Senator Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo). “It is a basic issue of equality to patrons: Why should VIPs get to enjoy the beverage of their choice and other attendees not? This levels the playing field and will allow all patrons 21 and over at intercollegiate sporting events the ability to enjoy the event with the beverage of their choice.”
“I introduced legislation in May 2020 to temporarily allow restaurants to serve ‘cocktails to go’ as residents stepped up to order carry-out even if they couldn’t visit their favorite restaurant in person,” said State Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Detroit). “We’ve heard from so many restaurant owners that this additional revenue stream became a lifeline that kept them in business. Three years in, it’s proven to be a popular new way for customers to support their favorite restaurants and has resulted in zero reported violations or safety issues. Cheers to my colleagues and the governor for recognizing a good thing when we see it, and with the passage of Senate Bill 141, making this successful trial permanent.”