State Representative Niraj Antani (R-Miami Township) today announced that the Ohio House has concurred on 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 will be a great tool in economic development for southern Montgomery County. We need new and innovative ways to make our community attractive for young people, and this bill answers that call."

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 actions by the governor.

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