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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Beer flowers at Wing Nutz in Sugar House in 2011.
Pending: More liquor licenses in Utah ...

UPDATE: The bill passed. Cheers.

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The governor's snap call for a special session of the Legislature didn't give us much time to editorialize in favor of a bill that would increase the number of liquor licenses available for restaurants in Utah.

- Liquor licenses: End restaurant shortage - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

In Utah, you can eat when you’re hungry and drink when you’re dry, unless the restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license. Then your choices will be limited.

That is putting a crimp in the state’s economic development, which is why the Legislature, in its special session today, should pass a measure to increase the number of those licenses. ...

The editorialists in Ogden had already made it clear they stand with us. (Clever fellows.):

- Increasing liquor licenses - Odgen Standard Examiner Editorial

... The usual argument by legislators is that more liquor licenses will lead to more underage drinking and drunken driving. Frankly, that's just a cover for the real reason liquor is stifled in this state, which is cultural antipathy -- from most legislators -- to alcoholic beverages and social drinkers. It's this kind of cultural bigotry that turns otherwise fiscal conservatives into Carrie Nation progressives when the issue on the table is liquor. ...

Our friends at The Deseret News, meanwhile, are, well, not opposed:

- Proposed liquor license increase would not negatively impact public safety - Deseret News Editorial

Utah has a legitimate interest in guarding against the overconsumption of alcohol, with all its attendant costs to society. However, today's special session of the state Legislature, called primarily to consider increasing the quota for state liquor licenses, is not a threat to that interest. ...

And, believe it or not, liquor laws are a controversial matter in other states, and countries, too:

- Gov. Corbett needs to show leadership on the LCB - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial

The month before the election in which Tom Corbett won the race for governor, he said in no uncertain terms that he wanted to change the state's liquor system.

His words: "We need to move our state out of the 19th century and refocus state government on its core functions and services for our residents."

That was 20 months ago, and we're still waiting. ...

- Liquor laws - Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World Editorial

Kansas has an interesting history when it comes to liquor laws. ...

- With privatization, Liquor Board needs to support consumer interests - Seattle Times Editorial

- Minister to rein in liquor industry ties - Business Day (South Africa)

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