Liquor Commission mandates Whiteclay stores reapply for licenses

Posted By: Nicole Cousins

State officials are making moves to address issues in Whiteclay.

The rural township on the South Dakota border has been a key topic of conversation at the Capitol lately, selling the equivalent of 3.5 million of cans of beer per year to the neighboring Native American Indian reservation of Pine Ridge.

Activists spoke out, asking the legislature to make changes in October.

"Our tribe decided that we did not want alcohol on our reservation, because we’ve seen what it does to our people,” former Ogalala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer said during the hearing.“Yet the state of Nebraska sells alcohol at our doorstep"

On Tuesday, the Liquor Control Commission voted unanimously to require all four of Whiteclay’s liquor stores to reapply for liquor licenses.

They were all up for license renewal next year, but this is the first time in decades any of them have been forced to reapply by the state.

"That’s really why we have a liquor commission to manage those liquor outlets and make sure they’re complying with the law," Governor Pete Ricketts said during a press conference Tuesday.

Senator Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln brought the issue to the State Legislature.

She released a statement after the commission’s ruling, saying in part, "I am grateful and find it appropriate that the Liquor Control Commission voted unanimously to initiate the long–form process regarding alcohol sales in Whiteclay."

We reached out to the all liquor store owners.

They either declined or couldn’t be reached for comment.

Senator Pansing Brooks says another root of the problem in Whiteclay is that there isn’t enough law enforcement in the area.

She hopes reevaluating these liquor licenses will give lawmakers a direction on what to do next.