Booze bill raises ethics question in Kentucky's legislature

Cropped Photo: shankar s. / CC BY 2.0

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Wesley Morgan, owner of four Liquor World outlets in Kentucky, was pleased when a state legislative committee approved a bill to let liquor store owners transport alcohol across county lines.

But unlike most liquor store owners, Morgan has a direct say in whether the bill becomes law. A Republican state representative, he sponsored the bill and wants House colleagues to pass that and six other measures he wrote that would affect liquor store owners.

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission says Morgan's bills don't violate state ethics laws because they would impact all liquor store owners equally. But Richard Beliles, chairman of the watchdog group Common Cause Kentucky, says the bills are improper.

It's an issue that vexes citizen legislatures around the country.

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