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Senate: Lift ban on billboard liquor ads

The state Senate has given preliminary approval to lifting a ban on advertising alcoholic beverages on billboards.

The Senate voted, 14-10, yesterday to have the Finance Committee review the bill, which also prohibits placing the ads within 500 feet of a school. The bill also prohibits listing retail prices in the billboard ads.

The Liquor Commission said it could not estimate the fiscal impact on state revenues from allowing the billboard ads.

Supporters argued the ban unconstitutionally limited commercial free speech. They pointed out that the Liquor Commission advertises on billboards in Massachusetts.

Opponents argued more youth might be enticed to drink as a result of the ads.

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