This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, is resurrecting a bill that clarifies how alcohol permits for special events are granted.
Oda told members of the Business and Labor Interim Committee on Wednesday that provisions in the current law are vague and create a chance for subjectivity when it comes to granting alcohol permits.
The committee gave its unanimous support to the proposal that, if approved by lawmakers in 2016, would allow special-event permits to be granted to any business or group that meets all the standards required by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC).
The requirements include strict security at events to prevent underage drinking and overconsumption of alcohol.
Other requirements in Oda's proposed bill including looking at an applicant's three-year violation history and determining if a special event permit is being requested as a way to get around alcohol laws or other liquor license requirements.
Under the current language, an entity could meet all the DABC requirements but still could be denied a special permit by the state liquor commission, Oda told the committee. "Even if they qualify, there was still too much room for discretion."
Oda proposed the liquor changes during the 2015 legislative session. House Bill 16 was approved by House and Senate committees, but never received official debate on the Senate floor.
Special-event permits have been in the headlines for more than a year, after the DABC liquor commission told Snowbird Ski Resort that the venue might not receive a single-event permit for its annual Oktoberfest celebration.
The DABC never went through with the decision but has since created new rules to make the application process more clear. One major rule change requires cities to determine whether an event is a "civic or community" enterprise.
The new DABC rule also mirrors Oda's bill, requiring staff, for example, to look at a group's violation history.