Senate approves Nofs bill to allow colleges and universities to obtain a liquor license

LANSING— The Michigan Senate on Thursday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs to allow community colleges and universities with culinary or hospitality programs to apply for an on-premises liquor license.

“This is a great positive step toward preparing Michigan students and future entrepreneurs for success in business,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Under this reform, community colleges and universities would be able to offer students a broader experience into what the hospitality industry entails. I am proud that we were able to work with all interested parties to reach an agreement on an issue that has been around for more than a decade.”

Senate Bill 502 would allow the Liquor Control Commission to issue non-quota on-premises liquor licenses to community colleges and universities that operate accredited culinary or hospitality programs.

Nofs’ legislation requires that:

  • licenses are granted and registered to the program’s specific location;
  • culinary or hospitality programs must be accredited by a regionally-recognized body;
  • licenses must be used by the community college or university and not by a private entity;
  • institutions may not obtain a catering permit using these licenses; and
  • licenses are only used for activities to further the institution’s community and academic mission.

“This reform is about increasing educational opportunities and not about infringing on the private sector,” Nofs said. “That is why we narrowly tailored the measure so that colleges are not competing with private sector businesses.”

SB 502 was supported by many groups, including Jackson Community College and the Michigan Community College Association. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.