Posts Tagged liquor laws

Rachel explains wacky Utah to the rest of the world

Rachel Maddow does quite a good job with this segment, all about Utah. She brings in Rocky Anderson to explain why, despite some positive moves, the Utah legislature insists on adding some all new wackiness in its liquor laws.


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Waddoups’ BIG BROTHER alcohol database

waddoupsJust as you think there might be a slim chance of making Utah liquor laws more reasonable, you wake up in the morning and read this (SLTrib.com):

A proposal to scan the driver licenses of bar patrons and keep it on file in a state law enforcement database is a good start, says Senate President Michael Waddoups, but he wants to see the program go further.

Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, says he wants to see the database idea start with private clubs, but extend to restaurants that serve diners beer and liquor.

That would greatly expand the scope of the data collection and create a new requirement for restaurants, which are not required to have people sign up as members in order to serve beer and liquor. There are fewer than 400 clubs and taverns and nearly 1,100 restaurants licensed to serve alcohol.

So Senator Waddoups wants a record maintained of people who are doing a perfectly legal activity? And why? Get ready to spit your coffee:

“In a restaurant, if they’re serving alcohol, the person ordering the alcohol should show the ID,” said Waddoups, who was receiving a demonstration of the license scanners after the Legislature’s budget meeting Friday. “At some point, the restaurant would feed [the information] into the central database.”

That way, he said, if the restaurant patron left the restaurant and went to a bar, the bartender could know the customer may have already been drinking and might need to be watched more closely.

Okay, I go back to my original belief that they need to administer IQ tests before people can serve in elected office.

Not only is this new idea extremely burdensome to businesses, it certainly would be found to violate individual rights of privacy. Let’s see now, what other legal activities can we keep track of people doing?

And tourists? Well, they’ll stay away in droves once they find out we’re going to keep their names in our Big Brother law enforcement database of bad evil people who drink a glass of wine with dinner.

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Utah’s Private Clubs – Lawmaker Delusions

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman says our 40-year old private club law is bad for business and he’d like to see it eliminated. And he’s right. The law, after all, accomplishes nothing related to alcohol consumption. People who want to go to a bar, manage to figure out what they need to do. Then they proceed to drink in the way they will–moderately or excessively. The private club law makes no difference in an individual’s consumption of alcohol.

But the new president of Utah’s Senate, Michael Waddoups, opposes any change in the private club law.

Several senate sources told ABC 4 News that Waddoups doesn’t like doing away with clubs. Specifically, he’s concerned about underage drinking and DUI’s.

In fact, several years ago, Waddoups wife was badly hurt in a car accident. It involved someone driving under the influence. ABC 4’s sources say this is a big reason the senate president will likely fight to keep the club system in place.

One can understand Waddoups’ personal aversion to alcohol consumption due to its impact on his own family. But we have to have some sense about this. Making people have a ‘membership’ just to walk through the door does not address Waddoups’ concerns–does not prevent even one DUI. Any club ‘member’ can get a whole crowd of people in. The club is still responsible for ensuring all who enter are of age. Individuals still must exercise personal responsibility for their consumption. Nothing magic happened because of the way they entered the bar. People who drink excessively and get behind the wheel, will do so regardless of how they got into the bar.

Lawmakers who don’t imbibe think all liquor laws are good laws, period. I would urge Senate President Waddoups and others to try to get past their personal prejudices, understand that alcohol will be consumed, and laws controlling that consumption should have some effect besides simply making people jump through hoops. Think about the real effect of the law. If it doesn’t accomplish its purpose, then let’s get rid of it. Governor Huntsman is right about this.

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