Measure would allow veterans groups to again sell beer at state fairs

2013-02-25T05:30:00Z Measure would allow veterans groups to again sell beer at state fairsBy Kurt Erickson | Kurt.erickson@lee.net pantagraph.com
February 25, 2013 5:30 am  • 

SPRINGFIELD — A year after a change in state bidding laws left a veterans group in southern Illinois without the ability to conduct beer sales at the Du Quoin State Fair, a proposal by state Sen. Gary Forby could reverse that decision.

The measure is designed to protect service organizations like the Combined Veterans Association from being out-bid and losing their fair contracts to sell beer at the fairs, the Benton Democrat said.

The group counted on the money to finance a number of charitable endeavors throughout the region, including college scholarships for Marines’ children, the Women’s Center in Carbondale, Girl Scouts and the Anna Veterans’ Home.

The proposal would exempt State Fair contracts between not-for-profit service organizations and the Illinois Department of Agriculture from state bidding rules.

“This would allow the vets to continue their contract with the Illinois Department of Agriculture without requiring the department to receive bids from at least three vendors,” Forby said. “There are times when providing a valuable, charitable service to our communities trumps the need to make a profit.”

The contract for beer sales at various locations at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield expires this year.

“There could potentially be the same problems at the state fair in Springfield,” said Illinois Department of Agriculture spokesman Jeff Squibb.

Squibb said the department will follow whatever laws are on the books. Forby’s legislation must be acted on quickly to ensure the law is changed before spring bidding starts for this year’s beer tents.

The legislation is Senate Bill 1561.

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