Every now and then, you hear about a law that is just so old fashioned it’s hard to believe it is still on the books.
That is especially true in Virginia where believe it or not, it is illegal for businesses to promote happy hour drink specials, even though happy hours are perfectly legal in the state.
Yes, you read that correctly.
But one Virginia chef has had enough of this outdated law, and he’s taking a stand to modernize it. Chef Geoff Tracy, who owns a Virginia restaurant, has filed a First Amendment lawsuit arguing that the government can’t censor truthful, non-misleading speech.
Chef Geoff simply wants to advertise happy hours at his Virginia restaurant the same way he can at his business across the river in Washington, DC. For some strange reason, Virginia still considers this to be a crime.
Our Constitution prohibits this kind of censorship. The Supreme Court has routinely struck down laws that censor truthful information, even when the intent behind the law is to “protect the public.”
We strongly believe in responsible consumption. But we also recognize that businesses are protected by the First Amendment and have a right to promote their specials. Last time we checked, millions of Americans safely and responsibly attend happy hours in just about every corner of the nation without senseless laws needed to protect them. (Shocking, we know!)
Local businesses that sell alcohol responsibly should have the freedom to market the same way as their competitors outside of the state. If you agree, contact Virginia’s lawmakers today and let time know it is time to modernize Virginia’s ABC laws!