Beer Sales in Robbins -- Well, Sort Of
Robbins is set to shrink very slightly, and get a little wetter at the same time.
A bill to de-annex Robbins Friendly Mart from the town passed its third reading in the state House of Representatives Monday, according to Randy Merritt, who leases the store from Gene Lewis.
Town commissioners had asked state Sen. Harris Blake to introduce it as a local bill so that Lewis, who had worked for Robbins area economic development for years through Northern Moore Tomorrow, would be able to sell beer at the location. Lewis had voluntarily asked to be part of the town some years ago.
Now, after Bensalem Township passed an ABC referendum late last year, he faced the possibility some competing establishment might set up across the street that could legally sell both beer and wine. Last fall Robbins voters approved off-premises sale of wine but turned down mixed drink and beer sales -- all by narrow margins.
Later, Bensalem Township voters approved both beer and wine sales.
In return for being de-annexed, Merritt and Lewis made an agreement with the town under which Robbins will receive payments equal to what the municipality would receive in property taxes and will pay the double out-of-town water rates.
Brian Allen, who had worked with Lewis on NMT, and Merritt say they both had fought hard to get the town to abandon its dry status in the interest of economic growth, though Merritt also freely admits he has a personal interest as a storekeeper who would like to be able to sell beer.
Moore County's representative in the House, Jamie Boles, read the bill for the third and final time. It had already passed three readings in the state Senate. Each house does three "readings" and votes after each one. Most local bills, by long custom, are generally passed without opposition.
According to the General Assembly Web site, after a bill passes both houses, it is "enrolled."
The enrolled copy is taken to each presiding officer during the daily session. Each officer signs the enrolled copy. When the second signature is affixed, the bill is said to have been ratified. If it is a local bill, it becomes law at that point.
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