East Lansing Senator Voted Against Alcohol Sales At Michigan College Stadiums To Give Voice To Neighborhood Concerns
The Michigan Legislature will break in one week for almost the entirety of summer, but legislators are expected to officially approve a bill that would legalize alcohol sales at all of the state's college stadiums before they adjourn.
Last week, the state's Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure in a rare showing of bipartisanship, 36-2. One of two dissenting voices came from the member of the chamber that represents the Michigan State community — Sen. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing.
Singh, an MSU alumnus who started his political career on the East Lansing City Council and then served as mayor, joined "Offensive Minded" on The Game 730 AM on Tuesday to talk about his vote and the reasoning behind it.
"I was just trying to make sure part of the East Lansing neighborhood voice was heard in this process," said Singh, who also represented the area in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019. "I was approached by a number of neighborhood leaders who have grappled with alcohol in large groups... There was concern by a number of them that this could spill out into the neighborhoods after the game.
"To me, it's not the issue of alcohol, per se, but I wanted that voice that hadn't been really heard in the committee process to be at least heard on the Senate floor."
Eleven of the Big Ten's 14 member schools serve alcohol at their college football games. MSU and Michigan don't, due to current state of Michigan law that prohibits it. Nebraska's Memorial Stadium is the only other Big Ten football venue that doesn't sell alcohol, although the school's governing board recently rescinded the decades-old university policy that expressly forbade it.
Singh said he expects the Michigan House of Representatives to approve alcohol sales at college stadiums throughout the state by a similarly wide margin within the next week. At that point the bill would still require the signature of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a prominent MSU alumna. Singh said he's heard second-hand that she supports the measure.
"My sense is we'll give it immediate effect to allow for it to be put into place for the fall," Singh said of the legislation. Whether that's enough time for universities and athletic departments to implement alcohol sales for the 2023 season is unclear, though.
Several Big Ten schools have begun offering alcohol at college football games in recent years, citing the lucrative alternative revenue stream such sales represent. Such schools include Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Wisconsin.