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Uptown in the News  

March 31, 2004
Windy City Times
Big Chicks Bill Passes Illinois House

On Tuesday March 23, HB4031, sponsored by Rep. Larry McKeon, passed a full vote before the Illinois House. The bill, once passed by the House and the Senate and signed by the Governor, will save Big Chicks, an Uptown institution.

McKeon and other elected officials and community leaders have been struggling for several months to help Big Chicks and its owner Michelle Fire stay in Uptown. The city has moved to close Big Chicks and has refused to issue a liquor license to Tweet, its companion restaurant, because they are located under 100 feet from a religious institution. The little known and rarely applied prohibition has never been a problem for Big Chicks before, but now threatens closure of the popular LGBT gathering place.

HB4031 amends the Liquor Control Act to allow that a liquor license may be issued or renewed if "the primary entrance of the liquor establishment and the primary entrance of a place of worship are located at least 100 feet apart, on parallel streets, and separated by an alley, and the principal religious leader of the place of worship does not indicate opposition to the license." In the case of Big Chicks, the entrances are well over 1,500 feet apart, are on opposite parallel streets and face in opposite directions.

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