Last fall, the Board of Regents considered pushing for alcohol sales on campus. Only SDSU expressed great enthusiasm; the other campuses’ reactions ranged from cautious interest to fence-sitting to no interest. The Regents decided not to lobby for the statutory changes necessary to advance on-campus alcohol sales this year, at least not until they’ve done more research and formulated the policies that would guide the sale of cold barley soup at campus sporting events.
Evidently unable to contain SDSU’s enthusiasm, Brookings legislators have filed Senate Bill 102, which would exempt athletic facilities from the ban on alcohol sales on campus and would authorize issuance of alcoholic beverage licenses and special events licenses for Regental events involving “performing arts, intercollegiate athletics, fund raising, a reception, a conference, or an occasional or scheduled event at a facility used for performing arts, intercollegiate athletics, events, or receptions.” Senator Larry Tidemann (R-7/Brookings) and Representative Scott Munsterman (R-7/Brookings) are the prime sponsors; they got Rep. Spencer Hawley (D-7/Brookings) to sign on as well. Some other college-town legislators are also sponsors:
- Aberdeen Senator David Novstrup (R-3), even though Northern told the Regents it is not interested in selling alcohol at campus events;
- Rapid City Senators Terri Haverly (R-35), Bruce Rampelberg (R-30), and Craig Tieszen (R-34) and Rep. Dan Dryden (R-34), although their Hardrockers are too busy engineering nuclear waste containers and secret weapons for Uncle Sam to care much about buying beer at football games;
- Spearfish Rep. Fred Romkema (R-30), whose campus might make money selling beer to bikers who bunk at BHSU during the Sturgis Rally;
- Vermillion Rep. Ray Ring (D-17).
None of Madison’s legislators have signed on as sponsors. We’ll see if Senator Parsley, Rep. Heinemann, or Rep. Wollmann brings a DSU perspective to this bill.
It is interesting to see legislators charging to authorize the Regents to do something that the Regents said they wanted to wait on. Perhaps the chance to stroke alumni and sports fans in an election year with an easy bill that costs taxpayers nothing is too much for some legislators to pass up.