It’s Time to Offer a Toast to Your Beautician

Get your champagne flutes ready, as it seems California Assembly Bill 1322 (AB 1322) looks ripe and ready to be passed. AB 1322 aims to amend current law to allow beauty salons and barber shops to serve their clients limited quantities of beer or wine at no extra charge without obtaining a license or permit from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) if certain requirements are satisfied.

Existing law makes it unlawful for any person without a license or permit from the ABC to sell, manufacture, or import alcoholic beverages in California; however, this isn’t the first time California has made an exemption to the license requirement for certain service providers. Section 23399.5 of the Business and Professions Code (Cal Bus & Prof Code § 23399.5) created an exemption for alcohol to be served (at no extra cost) as part of a limousine service or as part of a hot air balloon ride. Interestingly, Senate Bill 346 proposed to amend Cal Bus & Prof Code § 23399.5 to include gondola services; however, the bill has yet to be passed since, at the request of the author, it has been held in Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Initially introduced in February 2015, AB 1322 passed unanimously in the House May 2015. AB 1322 has since been in the Senate and has received generally favorable treatment and is expected to pass. If passed by the Senate, beauty salons and barber shops would be able to serve wine or beer without obtaining a license or permit from the ABC; provided, the following requirements are met:

1. The alcoholic beverage must be provided at no extra charge, meaning the cost of the service will not change if provided an alcoholic beverage;

2. The establishment’s license must be in good standing with the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (CBBC);

3. A customer may be offered no more than 12 ounces of beer or six ounces of wine by the glass and,

4. The alcoholic beverage is offered strictly during business hours, however, in no case later than 10:00 PM.

AB-1322 is intended to legalize and regulate an already common business practice. According to David Miller, a spokesman for Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) who authored the bill along with Assemblyman Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita), the service of alcohol at beauty salons and barber shops is “one of those areas of law which needs to be updated to reflect modern realities.”

Critics, on the other hand (mainly alcohol industry watch groups) are concerned with the state’s ability to enforce AB-1322’s requirements at potentially more than 45,000 new venues serving alcohol (which would amount to a 41% increase of establishments legally allowed to serve alcohol). The opponents stress that identifying non-compliant businesses will be difficult as they are not required to register with the ABC.

Despite the opponents’ arguments, it looks like AB 1322 is primed to pass. The state has been able to adequately regulate limousine service providers and hot air balloon services, so the state should be quite capable of keeping beauty salons in line.

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