The Washington state legislature will tackle whether to allow beer and wine in movie theaters.

The proposal, called HB 1001, is already stirring up controversy from many, concerned about keeping alcohol away from minors in a dark auditorium or movie theater. The State Liquor Control Board agrees enforcement would be difficult.

Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, drafted the bill with the intent of giving many small movie theaters a boost in business. HB 1001 requires theaters to have a plan in place to prevent minors from obtaining the booze.

This is a way to bring more patrons through the doors, said Moeller. Some theaters in my district are struggling to survive.

Mark Stern, owner of The Big Picture in downtown Seattle, said enforcement would be too challenging. His theater is open to moviegoers 21 and older and they can order cocktails at their seat. Stern said his concept works because of the age restriction and it would be too difficult to keep an eye on minors during the show.

It would be impossible, he said. You d have to have a liquor officer standing in the doorway watching for a minor to be handed a drink.

Rep. Moeller introduced the bill in the previous legislative session but the session ended before a final vote.

A public hearing is scheduled on HB 1001 in the house committee on Government Accountability and Oversight at 9 a.m. Monday.

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