Big liquor law changes coming

- SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - One month ago, ABC 4 reported that there might be a special legislative session to change Utah's liquor laws.

Monday afternoon, Governor Herbert called that special session.

The legislature will meet Wednesday at 3pm.

As we also reported Sunday night, lawmakers are expected to create 90 new liquor licenses.

50 of the new liquor licenses will allow restaurants to serve all types of alcohol.

40 will be for wine and beer only.

Sen. John Valentine, the bill’s sponsor, told ABC 4,

"It's not an insignificant number. It represents about a ten percent increase of our existing restaurant licenses. That's why we had to counterbalance it on the public safety side."

As far as public safety is concerned, the new liquor bill creates 4 new DABC compliance officers.

According to the bill’s sponsor, it also authorizes the UHP to run 12 new DUI blitzes every weekend.

We asked Senator Valentine how the state is going to pay for this.

He said,

"To accomplish the public safety side, we are increasing fees for restaurants by ten percent."

In other words, restaurants that want liquor licenses will have to pay more to get them.

Valentine also says his new liquor bill maintains the careful balance that the state has kept since Prohibition ended,

"What it does is retain the philosophy of Utah - to balance public safety with hospitality."

Now, on July 1st, it was going to be legal for businesses to sell their liquor licenses.

But this bill will delay the sale of licenses for another year.


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