Patrick B. McGuigan, The City Sentinel
A new allowing small businesses to offer bottle service to customers in Oklahoma — sponsored by state Representative Ajay Pittman, D-Oklahoma City — took effect last month without much fanfare.
House Bill 2726 quietly gathered steam in the final weeks of the recent spring session of the Oklahoma State Legislature.
As CapitolBeatOK.com, an independent news service in Oklahoma City, reported in March, Pittman said the bill “was a request bill from many small businesses in my district and throughout Oklahoma City. What we are doing is creating parity with what other states offer and what consumers want. Economic Development was at the top of my list of priorities when we started this journey, now we can see how we can restore our business communities from multiple things that challenge their success.”
The legislation, Pittman and other advocates say, does not encourage alcohol consumption. It does not remove safeguards to limit alcohol-linked incidents.
Pittman said, “This legislation isn’t about alcohol as much as it is about helping small businesses in House District 99 and throughout Oklahoma. This legislation will add a second layer of safety for families or patrons that gather in support of our professional sports teams and other celebrations.”
As the legislation worked its way through the committee and floor consideration process, it garnered co-sponsors. In the House, state Reps. Merleyn Bell, D-Norman, and Dean Davis, R-Broken Arrow, became co-authors. The measure’s Senate author was Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City.
The measure was amended to add an emergency clause, allowing it to go into effect immediately upon final approval.
H.B. 2726 passed the House of Representatives in April by a wide bipartisan majority.
In the end, 68 House members voted yes, with 26 opposed and seven not voting.
On May 5, the measured sailed through the Senate 40-7, with one member not voting.
Governor Kevin Stitt signed the legislation on May, adding Rep. Pittman’s revisions to the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act state law.