Capitol Daily Video: Legislature approves 90 new liquor licenses

During its special session on Wednesday, the Utah Legislature approved 90 new liquor licenses. Watch this video report to learn more, including an interview with Sen. John Valentine (R-Orem):


Here’s the script of the video: 

STAND UP: Governor Gary Herbert has called the Legislature into a special session Wednesday to approve adding 90 new liquor licenses for restaurants in the state of Utah.

SENATOR JOHN VALENTINE: “The bill for the special session does five things. The first thing that it does is it does increase the number of alcohol licenses for restaurants by 90, restaurant licenses that will be 50 full-service and 40 limited-service. The second thing the bill does is it extends the date for the transferability of licenses. The third thing that it does is it adds additional enforcement in the department of public safety. The fourth is increased DUI enforcement; we want to make certain that as we add additional licenses, that we have additional enforcement as well. The final thing that the bill does is it does increase the fees, the fees that restaurants pay for their alcohol licenses; it increases it by 10 percent.”

VOICE-OVER: Senator John Valentine is the sponsor of Senate Bill 4001, he said the need for a special session to be called is because the legislature needed to address the transferring of liquor licenses and the number of liquor licenses available statewide.

SENATOR VALENTINE: “The first urgency is the transferability, we are not certain we have that right and so we really want to have a chance to revisit that, we don’t want to have a situation of having the licenses being transferable and sellable and then come back next session and say, ‘oh no, we changed our mind.’ We wanted to make certain that we have consistent policy throughout. The second one, we started hearing back in April and May that we were out of licenses, we didn’t feel like we wanted to go a whole summer and into the fall without having licenses available.”

VOICE-OVER: Public safety and health advocates express concern at the higher levels of alcohol-related incidents more licenses will likely produce. In an attempt to alleviate those concerns, the legislation includes funding for four alcohol-related law enforcement officers who will have as a primary focus enforcement of alcohol regulation of restaurants. It also provides funds to pay state troopers for 12 additional shifts on weekend patrols. Representative Jack Draxler expressed concern about increasing access to alcohol.

REPRSENTATIVE JACK DRAXLER: “Many of my constituents and all of our constituents feel that there are consequences to alcohol consumption, many of which can be negative. And I think it’s important for us to step back now and evaluate the purpose of our alcohol policy. The purpose of our alcohol policy cannot just be to attract restaurants to the state, there is a lot more to it than that. Our historic policy has been good, I believe it has held down over consumption and underage consumption.”

VOICE-OVER: Senate Bill 4001 passed out of the House and Senate and will now go to the governor for his signature or veto. For Sutherland Institute, I’m Alexis Young, reminding you that public policy changes lives.