Legislature says ‘Yes’ to beer and a movie, but just barely

State Reps. Hunter Greene, left inset, and Sherman Mack, right inset, and the Louisiana State Capitol. Show caption
State Reps. Hunter Greene, left inset, and Sherman Mack, right inset, and the Louisiana State Capitol.

A bill that could allow more movie theaters in Louisiana to sell alcohol squeaked through to final legislative passage Friday.

In a 53-49 vote, the Louisiana House gave Senate Bill 654 exactly the number of “yes” votes it needed to pass. The bill now goes to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk.

Five movie theaters in Louisiana already sell alcohol. They received their liquor permits prior to Jan. 1, 1994. SB654 would allow other commercial film theaters to sell low alcoholic content beverages as long as they get local and state permits.

Several legislators objected, saying the bill would destroy the family atmosphere at movie theaters. “(It’s) one of the few experiences we can enjoy with our children, and that’s take them to the show,” said state Rep. Sherman Q. Mack, R-Albany.

Mack said a parent or grandparent could pay a considerable amount of money to take children to a movie and have the outing ruined by officers checking IDs inside the theater.

State Rep. Hunter Greene, R-Baton Rouge, questioned whether someone would really buy a ticket to a Disney cartoon such as “The Lion King” and then grab a beer on the way into the theater.