beer in glass movie theater.jpg
Image by Flickr user heady, used under a Creative Commons License.
Have you ever fantasized about drinking a cold beer while kicking back and watching

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Senate and House Both Pass Bills Allowing Alcohol Service in Movie Theaters

beer in glass movie theater.jpg
Image by Flickr user heady, used under a Creative Commons License.
Have you ever fantasized about drinking a cold beer while kicking back and watching a film in a movie theater? Well, fantasize no more.

Thanks to Senate Bill 5607, you could soon be sipping a glass of wine while watching Silver Linings Playbook instead of nosily sucking Diet Coke out of a plastic straw.

On Tuesday in Olympia, the Senate passed a bill that creates a beer, spirits and wine license for Washington state movie theaters. Sponsored by Sen. Nick Harper (D-Everett), the bill passed out of Senate in a 36-13 vote with bipartisan support.

Harper told the Senate Democrats of Washington State that the bill is a win-win situation for Washington.

"My hope with this bill is that we will not only help encourage people to spend their money at movie theaters throughout our state, but that we can perhaps provide some of our state's many microbreweries, wineries and craft distilleries with another market to sell their products," Harper said.

The bill requires that movie theaters keen on serving alcohol submit an alcohol control plan to the Liquor Control Board that guarantees no booze for underage moviegoers.

The Senate adopted an amendment to Senate Bill 5607, which requires movie theaters serving alcohol to have no more 120 seats per screen. The facilities must provide substantial maintenance for in-theater dining and uphold the same food safety and preparation guidelines as restaurants.

The annual fee for movie theaters holding a beer, spirits and wine service license is $400.

Meanwhile, the House passed HB 1001 yesterday by a vote of 90-4, an effort similar to SB 5607, although it only gives the go ahead for beer and wine and would also apply to movie theaters with more than 120 seats. The House and Senate will now swap the respective bills and - considering the bipartisan support both have received - should end up finalizing approval for one (or, possibly, both) of the bills sometime this session.

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