A recent headline declared, “Massachusetts is looking at a radical overhaul of its byzantine alcohol laws.” That isn’t the only state where critics claim that alcohol regulations are “antiquated”, no longer relevant for today, and need major “modernization.”
Regulations governing the alcohol business are reviewed periodically because business practices and tools change. Over the past decade we have seen many states accommodate the internet, approve new financial tools and allow different promotional methods. However, cries for a “radical overhaul” of “antiquated” laws are sometimes a call for deregulation by industry segments which would gain more profit from such deregulation…usually at the expense of other local businesses.
So how do you ensure that a needed review doesn’t just become a deregulation exercise? I actually like task forces that are convened by public officials because they allow a concentrated review of the subject. My experience is that these groups are usually reasonable and sensible. Throughout my career in public service, I worked with many task forces and special committees as the staff, the chair or a member. I learned a lot from these experiences and have developed some guidelines for how such efforts can be most effective.
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