Report Criticizes Alcohol Sales - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Report Criticizes Alcohol Sales

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A report from the state inspector general's office says the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control erred by allowing packages of liquor minibottles to be sold in retail outlets in Louisiana. The report was sent to then-Governor Mike Foster in October 2003.

It also said ATC Commissioner Murphy Painter had issued 45-day temporary permits to allow for the sale of liquor without the statutory authority to do so. The law says Painter may issue probationary permits for 35 days, a period prior to issuing a final permit. Governor Kathleen Blanco signed the report February 23rd.

A governor's signature is required before an inspector general's report is released. The ATC office is an agency within the Department of Revenue. Painter declined to respond until he had a chance to review the report. But, in his response to the inspector general, dated September 30th, 2003, he said that he DOES have the authority to allow the packages of minibottles to be sold and that his office was no longer issuing the 45-day permits.

Revenue department Secretary Cynthia Bridges will request an opinion from the state attorney general on whether the minibottle package sales are legal. Officials could not say yesterday whether the minibottle packages were still being allowed.

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