Historic Theaters Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Governor’s Desk
(KLIX) – A bill that allows Idaho’s historic theaters to sell alcohol has cleared the Senate.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Mat Erpelding, was carried in the Senate by Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Sun Valley, and passed with a 25-10 vote. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Brad Little to be signed into law.
“Historic theaters are an important part of several communities in Idaho,” says bill sponsor Rep. Mat Erpelding. “This legislation will help keep many of the cultural significant theaters afloat.”
The legislation allows theaters built before 1950 and have been added to the National Register of Historic Places to sell beer and wine.
“There are historic theaters all over the state that have incredible historic value,” Stenett said on Thursday. “In District 26, the Schubert Theater in Gooding is part of the cultural fabric of the area. It is important that we prioritize preserving these valuable places.”
Other theaters in the Magic Valley the bill affects include the privately-owned Burley Theater and the Wilson Theater in Rupert, owned by the city.
Erpelding said that Idaho’s historic theaters, many of them in rural locations, continue to play a vital role in their communities and that his bill helps preserve their legacy by giving them another revenue option if their owners decide to sell alcohol.
“Historic theaters are an important part of several communities in Idaho,” he said. “In many towns, they serve as a hub for events, meetings, and activities.
"I am pleased that the House and Senate have voted to assist these theaters in supporting their ongoing existence. This legislation will help keep many of the cultural significant theaters afloat.”