LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) - Just before Oklahoma’s new liquor laws went into effect October 1, 2018, there was a flood of liquor license applications coming in last minute to the ABLE Commission. That created a backlog, but things have since returned to a more normal pace.
There are many statutory requirements prior to filling out your liquor license application. One of those being putting a notice in the paper for two consecutive weeks expressing your intent to apply for a liquor license. Steven Barker, Deputy Director and General Counsel at Oklahoma ABLE Commission, said that may have lead to the rush of applications.
“Just one of many requirements in order to get a liquor license that with this transition from 3.2 beer to high point, especially with this, we need to hurry, hurry, hurry because we’re last minute," said Barker. "If you don’t realize that you have a two weeks paper requirement, you’re already two weeks behind, because you didn’t realize that was a requirement before you even get going on your application.”
Barker said another reason for the application influx could have been due to 3.2 licenses that were recently renewed.
“There’s a lot of people who may have got them in 2017 and on the license it says it’s good until 2020," said Barker. "And they did not realize 3.2 beer, legally speaking, vanished on October 1st.”
Barker said they have already issued thousands of new licenses following the implementation of State Question 792. He said now that the number of business license applications are back to normal, they can focus on employee licenses.
“Really, the struggle as far as wait times, is the employee licenses," said Barker. "Thankfully we have a mechanism, otherwise, the sheer number of people that didn’t have an employee license and didn’t have to have one, and now needed one, all came in at the same time. That’s been difficult. But, thankfully they get to work immediately on their temporary receipt, anyway. So that that was less of an issue.”
Once an employee applies for a license, they are issued a 30 day temporary license until the ABLE Commission is able to address their application. That enables the employee to work while they are waiting
Barker said that there will always be liquor license applications coming into their office, but compared to two months ago, they are far more manageable.