Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, State Alcohol Regulators Address Alcohol Law and Policy Conference

CHICAGO, IL – The Seventh Annual Center for Alcohol Policy (CAP) Alcohol Law and Policy Conference began today at the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois, with a welcome by CAP Advisory Council member and former Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch. He noted that the conference is a key opportunity for a diverse group of state alcohol regulators, public health advocates, members of the alcohol beverage industry and others interested in alcohol policy issues to come together to learn and share ideas.

Mississippi Attorney General and National Association of Attorneys General President Jim Hood delivered a keynote address on the role state attorneys general play in defending state regulations, including alcohol policies, and efforts to prevent underage drinking. General Hood also discussed his interest in fighting counterfeiting in all forms, from intellectual property theft to black market production. He applauded the Center for highlighting the American success story on alcohol regulation in fighting alcohol counterfeiting.

Attendees also heard from Former Chief Counsel for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Robert Tobiassen, who moderated a panel on counterfeit alcohol, which contrasted problems in other countries with its rare occurrence in the United States. Former Commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control Murphy Painter and Illinois Liquor Control Commission Executive Director Gloria Materre spoke about the elements of the U.S. regulatory system that work to maintain a safe and prosperous marketplace for alcohol and explained how the U.S. system differs from other countries, such as England. Tobiassen also unveiled to conference attendees a new report on this topic, “The ‘Fake Alcohol’ Situation in the United States: The Impact of Culture, Market Economics, and the Current Regulatory Systems.”

The future of alcohol supplier-distributor laws was discussed on a panel moderated by Mike Madigan, managing partner of Madigan, Dahl & Harlan, P.A. Attorneys Bill Kelley, Francis O’Brien and Jim Webster highlighted the policy reasons behind franchise laws and discussed industry growth, consumer selection and public accountability. The panel addressed state alcohol laws that govern the regulated alcohol industry and efforts by certain large economic players to get around these state laws.

A panel moderated by Brannon Denning, CAP Advisory Council member and professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, addressed the First Amendment and alcohol regulation. The panel featured Alcohol Justice Executive Director Bruce Livingston, Jerry Whalen of the Office of Michigan Attorney General and Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Beer Wholesalers Association Paul Pisano. They discussed the Supreme Court’s changing landscape for First Amendment standards, yet the practical implications of many state alcohol laws seeking to protect the public and regulate the industry.

A panel on underage sales compliance was moderated by Responsible Retailing Forum (RRF) President Dr. Brad Krevor, who discussed how regulators and alcohol law enforcement officers are recognizing the importance of voluntary measures by licensees to achieve compliance with laws prohibiting sales to minors. The RRF has been recognized for its leadership in bridging the gap between retailers and law enforcement in efforts to fight underage drinking. Green Bay Police Department Captain William Bongle, Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control Division Chief Kathie Durbin and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Assistant Administrator Ed Swedberg examined non-punitive approaches that can raise compliance rates and the role of incentives in achieving regulatory objectives.

The final panel focused on post-Prohibition alcohol regulation. Professor at the University of Central Oklahoma and former General Counsel for the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission John Maisch and National Alcohol Beverage Control Association Senior Vice President of Public Policy/Communications Steve Schmidt spoke about the similarities between America’s task of creating a post-Prohibition alcohol regulatory structure in 1933 and the Oglala Sioux’s current task in setting up an alcohol control system after a 2013 vote to overturn a century-old ban on alcohol. The panel concluded with a screening of Maisch’s documentary Sober Indian/Dangerous Indian: A Story of Empowerment Through Sobriety.

The Seventh Annual CAP Alcohol Law and Policy Conference continues Friday, September 5, at the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. Additional details regarding the conference agenda can be found at www.centerforalcoholpolicy.org.

For live updates from the event, follow @AlcoholPolicy on Twitter using the hashtag #CAPLaw.


 The Center for Alcohol Policy is a 501c(3) organization whose mission is to educate policy makers, regulators and the public about alcohol, its uniqueness and regulation. By conducting sound and scientific-based research and implementing initiatives that will maintain the appropriate state-based regulation of alcohol, the Center promotes safe and responsible consumption, fights underage drinking and drunk driving and informs key entities about the effects of alcohol consumption. For more information, visit www.centerforalcoholpolicy.org or follow the Center on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlcoholPolicy.



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Center for Alcohol Policy
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