State Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, has introduced legislation that, on the surface, may seem insignificant in most parts of the state, but will no doubt assist tourism in rural areas of the state, in particular the Upper Peninsula.
Dianda's bill, House Bill 5541, would allow small stores and even bars in rural areas to sell gasoline to tourists.
Under current state law, the liquor code establishes a $10,000 inventory limit for businesses that apply to sell gas if they hold a specially designated liquor license.
In a press release, Dianda said many establishments in the 110th District, and in other remote areas of the U.P. can't sell gas because they fail to meet the inventory requirements.
As the Upper Peninsula continues to grow as a tourist destination, businesses must meet the demands of tourists. Currently finding a place to buy gasoline in remote areas, including the Keweenaw, can be a challenge. Removing the red tape in state regulations would certainly be helpful to tourists and business owners but would expand other opportunities as well.
Those in urban areas with gas stations on every corner, may not be able to relate to tourists worrying about finding gas in small town U.P. But the fact remains there are many small towns will lovely restaurants, stores and bars that can offer tourists many pleasures, except gas.
The bill, is a great example of a lawmaker seeking out a need, specific to their district and attempting to right it.
Dianda's challenge of course, being in the minority, is to find support from across the aisle. Without Republican backing no bill in the state legislature can survive.
We applaud Dianda's foresight in crafting this legislation, which we support and we hope is equally adept in gathering the bi-partisan support he must have in order to get the bill passed and signed by the governor, before the height of the tourism season.
- The Daily Mining Gazette, Houghton