Ohio House Concurs On House Bill 47
Rep. Blessing applauds approval of bill that boosts local businesses

The Ohio House of Representatives today agreed to the Ohio Senate’s changes to House Bill 47. This bill, sponsored by Representatives Bill Blessing (R-Colerain) and Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati), authorizes the creation of an outdoor refreshment area by the legislative authority of a municipal corporation or township with a population of more than 35,000 people.

Upon approval by a local legislative authority, the Division of Liquor Control would issue the outdoor refreshment area designation to qualified liquor permit holders, located within a defined area as established in the bill not to exceed one half square mile. Within this new designated area only, persons carrying open containers of alcoholic beverages would be exempt from the Open Container Law.

“This bill is really about economic development and bringing more business to different areas around the state,” said Rep. Blessing. “With all of the great things happening across Ohio in the coming years, the 2015 MLB All-Star game and the Republican National Convention in 2016, this bill relieves some of the red tape these cities will go through to create outdoor refreshment areas for these specific events. This bill also gives opportunities to all communities that might want to participate. After two years, municipalities below the population threshold may apply to create an outdoor refreshment area. This will not restrict this tool for economic development to only larger cities.”

The municipal corporations or townships would need to adopt safety requirements for these refreshment areas, including the number of public safety personnel, hours of operation, specific boundaries and a sanitation plan that will help maintain the appearance of public health of the outdoor refreshment area. The local authority may eliminate the outdoor refreshment area at anytime, as well as review the operation of these areas every five years after their creation.

The bill contains an emergency clause, causing the bill to become effective immediately. HB 47 now awaits action by the governor.

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