February 29, 2012
Power Park wine bill passes House

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Legislation to allow wine to be served at Charleston's Appalachian Power Park is halfway home, after the House of Delegates approved the bill (HB4376) on a 79-19 vote Wednesday.

The bill would address quirks in state liquor laws that allow beer deemed by law to be nonintoxicating to be sold at the ballpark, but not wine.

Current law prohibits the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places, which are defined to include restaurants, hotel dining rooms and lobbies, and "places of public resort or amusement," including sports stadiums.

(Many restaurants and hotels get around the prohibition by obtaining private club licenses from the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.)

The bill would permit the sale of wine at "professional baseball stadiums," defined as facilities used primarily by Major League or minor league baseball franchises.

In addition to Charleston, the bill technically would apply to Appalachian League ballparks in Bluefield and Princeton, although neither of those locations sells beer.

Under the bill, team management would be able to obtain a special wine sales license from the ABCA at a cost of $250 a year.

The bill goes to the Senate.

Wednesday was crossover day, the 50th day of the regular session, and the last day for the House to pass House bills and send them to the Senate. Other bills passed Wednesday by the House would:

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