Thursday, February 28, 2013

Common Sense State House "Zion Curtain" Liquor Law Fix Poised to Suffer "Senate Leadership" Fatal Blow

“We don’t want restaurants looking like bars,” says Utah Senate Leadership (so-called)

In encouraging stories breaking yesterday, Salt Lake City Weekly, The Tribune and Standard-Examiner all gleefully reported on a pending Utah House of Representatives bill, HB 228, aimed in pertinent part (see lines 764-791) to eliminate Utah's quirky "Zion Curtain" statutory provision, which refers to "the permanent structural barriers" required of restaurants to shield underage patrons from the morals-corrupting sight of wine being poured and cocktails being mixed.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Ryan Wilcox R-Ogden, said during testimony yesterday before the House Revenue and Taxation Committee "that after significant study, there was no evidence of any kind to be found showing the walls were helping to prevent underage drinking."

“An uneven playing field that’s the first strike, we haven’t been able to show it encourages underage drinking and the third one is that we get fun headlines [about the Zion wall] in The New York Times, USA Today and even The Economist,” Wilcox also told committee members.

For our readers' convenience we'll helpfully provide the above-mentioned northern Utah print media stories via the links below:
Sadly however, it appears that Wilcox's common sense and intelligently researched legislation is poised for failure, and that Utah's downright comical Zions Curtain Law won't be further dragged into the 21st century anytime soon, as this morning's Standard-Examiner reports that GOP Senate leadership (so-called) is already positioning to deal Wilcox's bill an all-too-predictable lethal blow:
In a news briefing, Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, said the bill has little chance to pass the Senate in its current format. He said he will work with Wilcox and other House leaders to find a potential compromise. He suggested any offset would have to address public safety concerns.
“We don’t want restaurants looking like bars,” Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said of the bill.
Check out this morning's discouraging S-E story for the full lowdown:
While it's obvious that Ogden's own House Rep Wilcox has done his homework and that this fact-based proposed legislation would succeed in a more rational state legislature, it's time for Wilcox to adopt a more forceful and precise lobbying approach, wethinks. Perhaps in fact it's time for Wilcox to a appeal to a higher Utah legislative authority with something appealingly Reaganesque, maybe a Gipper-like message like this, que no?
President Monson, tear down those walls!
The floor's open for your ever-savvy comments, O Gentle Ones.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.


Ogden Lover said...

Dixon Pitcher, referring to other legislators, said something like "if there were laws in place that made it this difficult for YOUR businesses to function and grow, they would be gone".

blackrulon said...

If drinking behind closed doors is good enough for drinking  in secret Utah legislators then hiding drinks behind the Zion Curtain is good enough for everyone else. Besides most legislators fine dining experience is limited to lobbyists free lunch and the occassioinal excursion to Golden Corral buffets.

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