March 20, 2019
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Senate upholds LePage veto of ‘fair pint’ beer bill

Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Carolina Sports and Spirits' Kim Grass pours a beer for a customer Jan. 21 at the bar in Bangor.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Senate Republicans on Thursday voted to sustain a veto of a bill to require bars that sell “pints” of beer to serve a full 16 ounces of brew.

The bill, by Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, would have directed liquor inspectors to check the volume of glasses at bars and restaurants that advertised pints on their menus.

Patrick and others had argued that many establishments sell “cheater pints,” either by using glasses that cannot hold 16 ounces or serving beers with so much froth that the customer is shortchanged.

Gov. Paul LePage vetoed the bill after it passed in the House and Senate, saying Maine already has laws protecting deceptive trade practices and that Patrick’s law would force restaurant and pub owners to subject themselves to more government inspections and in some cases require them to buy government-approved glassware.

“When I buy 10 gallons of gas, I know I’m getting 10 gallons and not nine,” Patrick said during debate in the Senate on Thursday. “The law protects me from being cheated. The same should be true for a pint of beer. If I’m going to pay $5 for a pint of beer, I want to know that I’m getting the full 16 ounces.”

Majority Republicans in the Senate stood unanimously by their governor to sustain his veto in a 20-14 vote. Included among them were Sens. Scott Cyrway of Benton and Ron Collins of Wells, who supported the bill in committee.

All 14 Senate Democrats voted to override the veto. The Senate originally passed the bill unanimously, with no roll call vote.

The House also voted to support the bill, although Republicans in that chamber opposed it, citing similar concerns to the ones LePage raised in his veto message.

The bill is now dead.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

 



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