Kansas lawmakers are debating a proposal to let grocery and convenience stores sell wine, liquor and full-strength beer. Uncork Kansas is pushing for new liquor laws. The hearing in Topeka is standing room only as people on both sides debate the issue.
Should Kansans be able to pick up a bottle of wine at the same place you buy your groceries?
That's the goal of a group trying to change the state's liquor laws.
It's an issue that's come up often in the state legislature--but never passed. Will this year be different?
Local liquor store owner Murray Anderson says he's a little nervous this time around---even though the odds may be in his favor.
"There was a survey released just recently that shows that over 70% of unbiased Kansans that really do not want liquor in the same grocery aisles as the bread and places where their children will be going," says Anderson.
Current law allows those stores to sell only 3-point-2 beer and wine coolers.
People packed the Statehouse Thursday to plead their cases.
Opponents of the bill say allowing broader liquor laws would put liquor stores out of business.
Murray says he's concerned about enforcement.
"On my corner, there would be 5 liquor stores on my corner if this law passes, think about other towns like Wichita, Topeka, there's a lot of places where there'd be 5 places to buy liquor. That's just too much exposure for our children," says Anderson.
The last time Kansas lawmakers amended the state's liquor laws was more than 8 years ago when they started allowing Sunday liquor sales.
Customers we talked with at Leeker's in Park City had mixed emotions.
"I think it would be convenient if the liquor was at the grocery store, a lot of people could just have one-stop shopping instead of having to stop at the liquor store," says Teresa Burckhard.
"That's the problem with the American people now, everything has to be convenient," says David Loveday.
Uncork Kansas has attempted to change the state's liquors laws before but similar bills failed. Liquor store owners are still wary.
"They really do estimate that over 40% of small Kansas businesses, which are liquor stores will gout out of business," says Anderson.
Committee will hear more arguments but could vote on the bill as early as Friday.