Senate District 9
Cecil Thomas
Senator Thomas Reintroduces Legislation to Modify Ohio's Open Container Law
SB 95 promotes tourism and economic development
March 3, 2015

Columbus – Today, Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) introduced Senate Bill 95 to allow municipalities with a population of more than 35,000 to create outdoor refreshment areas that are exempt from Ohio’s open container law.  Senate Bill 95 is jointly sponsored with Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and has received bipartisan support. 

“I am excited to reintroduce this legislation with Senator Seitz because I believe it is a good economic development driver for the state,” said Senator Thomas. “Senate Bill 95 will give cities in the state the opportunity to provide a unique entertainment experience for Ohioans and promote tourism.”

In the bill, an outdoor refreshment area is defined as a designated area that does not exceed one-half mile by one-half mile.

Additional bill specifics include:

  • A person may not enter the district with an alcoholic beverage. All alcoholic beverages must be purchased from a permit holding vendor.

  • There must be at least four A-2 or D permit holders in an area.

  • There may be no more than:

    •  (3) Outdoor Refreshment Areas per municipal corporation or township of 275,000 people or more.

    •  (2) Outdoor Refreshment Areas per municipal corporation or township of more than 150,000 people but less than 275,000 people.

    • (1) Outdoor Refreshment Area per municipal corporation or township of 35,000 people but less than or equal to 150,000 people.

Senate Bill 95 gives a local legislative body of the municipal corporation the authority to issue or revoke the permit(s) of the entertainment district. It also creates an Outdoor Refreshment Area Study Committee to study the viability of allowing municipal corporations or townships that have a population of 35,000 or less to create an outdoor refreshment area. The Study Committee comprised of seven members must issue a report of its findings and recommendations by December 1, 2015.

Senate Bill 95 is similar to legislation that passed in the Ohio Senate in December 2014.

Senator Thomas represents Ohio’s 9th district, which includes parts of Cincinnati, St. Bernard, Elmwood Place, Norwood, Gold Manor, Hollydale, Columbia Township, Silverton and Springfield Township. 

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