Senate Bill 141 (as passed by the Senate) (enacted version)

Sponsor: Senator Mallory McMorrow

Committee: Regulatory Affairs


Date Completed: 6-7-23




The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown had a significant effect on Michigan businesses, resulting in lost revenue and employees. A May 2020 study by EntryPoint, a nonprofit research group, found that two-thirds of Washtenaw County businesses had lost more than 50% of their revenue since February.[1] From March to April 2020, Michigan overall lost 1,009,000 jobs.[2] Workers in hospitality were particularly harmed. Areas with a greater share of employment comprised of accommodations/food service (AFS) workers experienced greater percentage reductions in the labor force than areas with a smaller share of AFS employment.[3] In response, the Michigan Liquor Control Code was amended to provide alternative means for businesses to generate revenue, such as allowing qualified licensees to sell alcoholic liquor for the purposes of off-the-premises consumption. Initially, there were safety concerns with how this legislation could affect drunk driving rates or possession of alcohol by minors. Evidently, off-the-premises consumption has not resulted in these safety issues, and so it has been suggested that the sunset on these provisions be eliminated.




The bill would amend the Michigan Liquor Control Code to eliminate a January 1, 2026, sunset on provisions that allow a qualified licensee to fill and sell qualified containers with alcoholic liquor for the purpose of off-the-premises consumption and to deliver alcoholic liquor to a consumer in the State if the qualified licensee meets certain conditions.


MCL 436.1537a



(Please note: This section does not provide a comprehensive account of all previous legislative efforts on the relevant subject matter.)


The bill is a companion bill to House Bill 4201, which passed the House and was referred to the Senate.



(Please note: The arguments contained in this analysis originate from sources outside the Senate Fiscal Agency. The Senate Fiscal Agency neither supports nor opposes legislation.)


Supporting Argument

Removing the sunset on provisions that allow a qualified licensee to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption would allow restaurants to remain flexible and generate revenue.

According to testimony before the Senate Committee on Regulatory Affairs, takeout and delivery services, including for alcoholic beverages, provided many restaurants a lifeline during the COVID-19 lockdown. Though the lockdown is over, staff shortages, supply chain disruptions, and inflation continue to harm restaurants.[4] Consumers have become used to alcohol to-go, providing restaurants an additional source of revenue that could help them continue to recover post-pandemic. Additionally, according to testimony, takeout drinks could continue to support restaurants if factors such as impending inclement weather slowed business. Allowing qualified licensees to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption would help restaurants and other businesses recover from the pandemic and continue operating flexibly, in accordance with the needs of the market.


Opposing Argument

Allowing retailers to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption indefinitely would be irresponsible. This ability was granted to retailers so that they could recoup revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Now that most businesses offer in-person service, selling alcohol for off-premises consumption is no longer necessary and may be dangerous. During 2020, alcohol sales surged as did hospital admissions for alcohol-related liver diseases.[5] While this increase cannot be directly attributed to the ability of consumers to order alcohol to-go, the policy should not be extended indefinitely without proof that the two are not correlated.


Legislative Analyst: Eleni Lionas




The bill would have no fiscal impact on State or local government.


Fiscal Analyst: Jonah Houtz

This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan Senate staff for use by the Senate in its deliberations and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.


[1] EntryPoint, Washtenaw County: Business Impact Report, p. 13, May 2020.

[2] Austin, John C., et al., "Why COVID-19 hit Michigan so hard", Brookings Institution, June 4, 2020.

[3] Zin, David, "What's Down with the Unemployment Rate Since COVID-19?", Senate Fiscal Agency, State Notes, Summer 2021.

[4] Ainsworth, Amber, "Cocktails to-go forever? Michigan Senate approves takeout booze permanently", Fox 2 Detroit, Nov. 11, 2022.

[5] Wells, Kate, "Michigan hospitals saw 50% spike in alcohol-related liver disease during early COVID pandemic", Michigan Radio, Mar. 6, 2023.



This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan Senate staff for use by the Senate in its deliberations and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.