LANSING – The House of Representatives approved today House Bill 4074, introduced by state Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), allowing businesses that currently sell beer and wine to also sell gas.

“I appreciate the quick House action on my bill because this will help small businesses serve their communities,” said Dianda. “As a former small business retailer in the Upper Peninsula, I know how important it is to encourage our tourists and outdoor retreaters to get around. Rural Michigan is unique in that there can be a significant distance between towns. Rules governing how beer, wine and gas are sold can make sense in the Lower Peninsula — but they can be a significant hardship for UP business owners. HB 4074 addresses this issue and fixes it for UP residents.”

The bill would help businesses by waiving the $10,000 inventory requirement for businesses located in a township with a population density of less than 4 people per square mile within a county with a population density of less than 11 people per square mile, or in a township in a county that is at least 1,170 square miles in size. Dianda’s constituents – Jim Wilmers, owner of the Cliff View Bar in Keweenaw County, and Mike McMahon, former president of the Keweenaw ATV Trail Club – testified via Skype in support of HB 4074 during the hearing on the bill in the House Regulatory Reform Committee. HB 4074 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill quickly and send it to Gov. Rick Snyder to be signed into law,” said Dianda. “Making motor fuel more readily available will help support many small businesses and communities throughout rural Michigan.”