Just call SB263 The Brewvies bill.
It would remove the unconstitutional portion of Utah law that prohibits alcohol from being served during an R-rated movie — like “Deadpool” — where characters have sex while nude.
In September, U.S. District Judge David Nuffer ruled that that section of a state liquor code hampered free speech.
SB263, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, changes the wording to meet the federal standards. Stevenson will present the details of the bill, during Thursday’s Senate Business and Labor Standing Committee.
If approved, it would be the the final chapter in a two-year legal battle between Brewvies Cinema Pub and the state.
Removes language that a federal court has said is unconstitutional relating to the service of alcohol during R-rated movies that show sex and nudity. - Read full text
The lawsuit was sparked after Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control threatened to fine the Salt Lake City theater up to $25,000 and temporarily revoke its liquor license for serving alcohol during a screening of “Deadpool.”
Brewvies filed the federal suit contending the film is protected by the First Amendment. The legal fight made national headlines.
Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, who was the the attorney for Brewvies, said the state is wise to replace the law. “It’s what we have advocated for,” he said.
While he had not read the bill, which was released Tuesday afternoon, Anderson said he hoped it was “written in a manner that meets constitutional standards.”
The new wording isn’t as broad as previously written. It prohibits the showing of a “film, still picture, electronic reproduction or other visual reproduction depicting conduct or material that is obscene or in violation of other state or federal law regarding pornography or obscenity.”
It does not apply to “artistic expression that when taken as a whole, has serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”
SB253 also addresses the state markup on hard cider. The change would benefit Mountain West Hard Cider, Utah’s first and largest hard-cider maker who had to move some of its production to Nevada, because the state’s liquor markup was crushing its ability to expand.