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New bills shake up liquor governance, do little for drinkers
Legislature » Privatization of liquor stores is not part of the proposals.


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A lawsuit by the Hospitality Association alleges that the church had inappropriate control over liquor legislation that Valentine offered last year, which the association said imposes burdensome demands on the industry.

Melva Sine, president of the Utah Restaurant Association said the group is still dissecting the bill, but there are some positives. "We’re happy with the advisory committee. We think it’s good, because if industry has a concern now, who do you go to?" Sine said.

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Questions remain, she said, about the new powers of the director, who will inherit a difficult job.

"We need a good director, someone who is going to work with low morale, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of experience in the department now," Sine said. "They’re going to have to build up the whole company … from the ground up."

In the House, Rep. Craig Frank, R-Pleasant Grove, is calling for a task force to take a look at privatizing the state’s troubled alcohol monopoly.

Rep. Craig Frank, R-Cedar Hills, said he filed HB423 after several audits have shown that for many years the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) has been incompetently managed.

"As more states have gone to the privatization model, it’s time that Utah look at this too."

His HB423 proposes that a task force, made up of four state senators and five representatives, study privatizing the DABC. An appropriation of $27,000 would pay expenses for work expected to completed by Nov. 30.

Frank acknowledged that legislative leadership is not supporting his bill at this time. But he added that he has "significant support in the House, and I’ll be drumming up support from leadership and other interested parties so we can have this discussion."

Dawn House contributed to this report.


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