Liquor Legislation is getting a lot of attention this session. Utah is known all over for its draconian liquor laws and there has been a lot of activity this session over changes. to these laws.
Utah has a law that anyone wishing to patronize a bar must become a member since bars are required to be “private clubs for members only”. This is one reason why many people, including tourists, do not regularly visit these establishments in Utah.
Tightening up the laws to include more touch penalties for infractions of Utah’s liquor laws is on the agenda this year, but legislators are also examining legislation (HB151) that would do away with the private club membership issue and would replace it instead with scanners to verify the validity of a patron’s identification.
Data would be stored on-site for a week and there would be no centralized law enforcement database.New templates would be designed for bars in restaurants to keep the mixing of drinks out of the view of children. Existing restaurants would be grandfathered in, but might qualify for assistance if they chose to renovate to conceal the mixing of drinks.
I personally adovocate e the elimination of the private club membership requirement and am cautiously optimistic about its replacement (as long as there is no “big brother” component to it over the long term), however am not in favor of the restaurant bar legislation. I feel this is an unnecessary crossing of the line of the rights and freedoms of individual business owners. If parents do not wish their children to be exposed to any type of liquor culture, they should refrain from taking them to any establishment that serves liquor, period.
Non-Partisan agrees with me on this:
Proponents of the “10-foot wall” argue that the mixing of drinks in view of children in some way glamourizes alcohol and encourages children to drink. This falls back into that responsibility argument that I’ve made about 500 times on this blog. Be a parent, explain to your children the dangers of alcohol and over-consumption. If you’re that paranoid about them seeing a drink being mixed, don’t go to places that serve. Realistically, it’s not like they’re not going to see the drinks being served after they’re mixed behind the wall.
HB151 has cleared the house and unanimously passed the Senate. It is now in the hands of the Governor.
The Salt Lake Tribune has a timeline of this year’s debate over liquor laws:
Liquor laws debate
- Mar 6:Waddoups: Liquor bill biggest legislation in a decade
- Mar 5:Liquor deal imminent amid intense negotiations; Quirky liquor laws hurt economic development
- Mar 4:Liquor law reform: Deal to end private clubs near
- Bill could bring back open bars at business gatherings
- Feb 27:Utah’s ‘Zion Curtain’: Competing liquor bills on collision course; Bill eases liquor restrictions for restaurants; Senate bill aims to boost Zion Curtain, tighten liquor laws
- Feb 26:Lawmaker tells agency to lighten up on liquor penalties
- Feb 23:Liquor bill: Committee OKs bid to scrap private clubs
- Feb 20:Eliminating liquor stickers could save $1 million