Kill the OLCC

In today's Oregonian, William Hatcher of A to Z Wineworks argues that it's time to mostly dismember the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. He makes a compelling argument that liquor law enforcement, licensing, and contract liquor stores are all superfluous functions that could be better managed by local government--or done away with altogether.
The one area necessarily remaining the provenance of the agency is statutory regulation of licensee qualifications, sales venues and community protections. That oversight should remain with the OLCC commission, a Senate-confirmed panel of five officials from different congressional districts.
For what it's worth, the OLCC is a vestige of the temperance movement. Some states were very much on-board with Prohibition, and when the 21st Amendment passed, tried to re-consolidate some authority over the sale and general availability of liquor. Like them, Oregon established the OLCC in 1933, convening a special session of the Legislature just nine days after Prohibition's repeal solely for this purpose. States like Oregon became known as "control" states, because they controlled the actual sale of liquor. Both Oregon and Washington are among the 18 remaining control states.

The upshot of all of this is that control agencies are far from critical in the regulation of alcohol, and in fact, only remain in a minority of states. So when Hatcher makes these points, he's effectively arguing for Oregon to modernize our regulatory agency and join the rest of the country.

If all of this fails to convince you that the OLCC is an agency past its expiration date, how about this article from Nick Budnick I missed last month in the Bend Bulletin:
Even as the agency has become a lightning rod for criticism in recent years, records show it has also been dogged by internal allegations of mismanagement, lackadaisical self-regulation and inadequate record-keeping.

Last year, an internal audit that was not released publicly found that OLCC’s licensing of alcoholic beverage retailers — one of the agency’s main functions — had been significantly mismanaged. Its title: “Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s licensing function lacks accountability and effective oversight.”

Budnick details the various problems, so go have a look at the gory details.