Posts Tagged private clubs

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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