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New training regulations for alcohol servers take effect on July 1, 2015. Public Act 098-939 amends the Liquor Control Act (the “Act”) to add Section 6-27.1, which requires all alcohol servers in Cook County to receive Beverage Alcohol Sellers/Servers Education & Training (BASSET) certification by July 1, 2015, or within 120 days of their employment, whichever is later.

Servers, Bartenders and Bouncers in Cook County Must Have the Training

Section 6-27.1 of the Act defines “alcohol servers” as “persons whose job description entails the checking of identification for the purchase of open containers of alcoholic beverages at retail or for entry into the licensed premises.” 235 ILCS 5/6-27.1(a). This definition includes all bartenders, servers, and bouncers who distribute alcohol or check identification in Cook County bars and restaurants. The Act excludes distributors who conduct tastings, volunteers distributing alcohol at charitable events, and instructors engaged in training on proper techniques for alcohol dispensing systems.

BASSET Certification Requirements

Servers (as defined) must complete a state approved BASSET training course and receive a certificate. A certificate of training belongs to the server, and a server may transfer it to a different employer, but shall not transfer it to another server. Proof that an alcohol server has been trained must be available upon reasonable request by state law enforcement officials. Certificates are valid for three years.

The state has established free BASSET certification courses throughout Cook County. A complete schedule and registration information can be found at The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is encouraging interested parties to sign-up early for these classes, as they expect each class to be at or near capacity.


The new regulations take effect July 1, 2015. On that date, all Cook County alcohol servers will be required to possess a BASSET training certificate. However, the state will not enforce monetary penalties until January 1, 2016. Prior to that time, enforcement of the new regulations will be limited to education, training, and notification of new regulations in order to encourage future compliance. 235 ILCS 5/6-27.1(h).

Moving Forward

These new regulations apply only to Cook County. If your municipality extends both to Cook County and another county, then it may be advisable to enact a local ordinance to establish uniform certification regulations throughout the municipality. If you have questions about how these new regulations may impact you, we recommend that you contact your municipal attorney or one of Tressler’s government attorneys. 

If you have any questions concerning this Special Alert or Tressler’s Local Government Law Practice Group, please contact:

Michael F. Zimmermann | 312.627.4020  |

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