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Testimony: A Health Impact Assessment of Changes to the Kansas Liquor Control Act

By Sarah M. Hartsig, M.S. | February 17, 2015

Testimony: A Health Impact Assessment of Changes to the Kansas Liquor Control Act
Photo by Jennifer Tinajero Sarah Hartsig, M.S., KHI analyst, offered neutral testimony before the House Commerce, Labor, and Economic Committee on Feb. 13, 2015.

KHI offered neutral testimony before the House Commerce, Labor, and Economic Development Committee on HB 2200. The bill would make changes to the Kansas Liquor Control Act permitting convenience and grocery stores to sell liquor and wine. Currently, only liquor stores can sell those products for consumption off-premises. – Read the testimony

A health impact assessment (HIA) is a new tool which brings health considerations into policy discussions where health is not always considered. The overall goal of an HIA is to inform policymakers of these impacts and to provide recommendations that could optimize potential health benefits while minimizing potential health risks.

In 2014, KHI conducted an HIA on HB 2556, which was designed to allow grocery and convenience stores to hold liquor licenses. The HIA found that the increase in density of off-premise alcohol outlets may lead to some increase in consumption for the general population and youth. However, HB 2200 addresses the issue of density by setting a permanent cap on the number of licenses that can operate in the state. As such, the HIA’s findings and recommendations related to density may not fully apply to the 2015 bill discussed with this testimony.

However, several HIA findings were related specifically to the availability of alcohol in grocery and convenience stores, which could impact youth consumption and theft of alcohol products. To mitigate potential negative health impacts associated with an increase in youth consumption and theft, the HIA included several recommendations, including:including maintaining regular compliance checks on all retailers, increasing store surveillance, and refraining from displaying alcohol products at the front of the store or near to products that are likely to be purchased by youth. To read the full report, click here

KHI, in partnership with the KU School of Medicine-Wichita, was awarded a grant to study this issue from the National Network of Public Health Institutes and the Health Impact Project, which is a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.