Liquor in Mo Town
Utah, first and foremost, is known for it's Mormons. Whenever my family travels outside the state and it comes up we're from there the first question on everyone's tongue is "Are you Mormon?" And once reassured, the curious party invariably has some pretty wacky assumptions about the religion that is dominates well over half our state.
While most of them are pretty far off the mark, they're not without reason. Salt Lake is a pretty different town. Pretty much everything on main street in downtown is closed on Sunday, you'll see a lot of censorship on the radio, and liquor laws force a bar tender to walk all the way around the bar to serve a drink to someone an arms length away. The passage of HB347 is supposed to deal with that issue.
The idea is this. If you want to go "Clubbing" in Salt Lake City, you have to be a member of a private club, or at least the guest of a member. If alcohol is served in a non-private setting, there must be food served along with it, and the server has to come from behind the bar. With HB347, the private liquor law will be banned, and instead patrons would have to scan their drivers license.
HB347 would give clubs the option of ditching the current private club rules -- which require that every patron have a membership or be a guest of a member -- and instead electronically scan guests' driver licenses to verify their age.
This seems pretty fun and high-tech, but there are a few doubts out there. Some argue that Utah's unique liquor laws help keep underage drinking and drunk driving at a low. A concerned citizen voices her opinion:
Sally Brinton, a mother of seven who lost a cousin in a drunken driving accident, said that Utah doesn't "need to be hip and cool" for tourists to visit, "nor do we want the grim death statistics that are borne out by [other] states." "I can't stand here and let this bill go by with the destructive effects it would have," she said.
Also, in an effort to prevent Big Brother, that databases will be purged every 48 hours. When the bill was proposed, someone brought a stack of real and fake identities, and the senators had almost no success distinguishing the two. Having an electronic scanner will only help to improve age restrictions at bars. The bill passed it's first hurdle, and is well on its way to becoming a law.