6.12.2008

MADDness

Utah is known for having a hostile attitude towards alcohol, and for having arcane liquor laws. I like to highlight examples of these local phenomena when they pop up, to educate you, our fine readers (especially you non-Utahns).

A great example of the hostile attitude surfaced the other day at a state hearing. Utah is actually considering getting rid of the rule that requires drinkers to purchase a membership to enter an establishment that sells liquor (restaurants and beer-only bars are exempt from this). The hearing was held to gather public comment on the issue. Here's a statement from the Utah chapter of MADD from the hearing:
During a public hearing, MADD's Utah lobbyist told liquor regulators that the state needs to keep a record of everyone who enters a bar in case of a drunken-driving incident.

“We have a right to know where someone's been drinking,” Jaynie Brown told The Associated Press after the hearing.

It is chilling to think of the government keeping track of who drinks and when they do so, especially in Utah. One paragraph later, however, this article completely debunks the idea behind the above statement:

Private clubs are required to keep a record of its members. But contrary to Brown's statement, customers don't have to sign in each time. There's also no requirement to keep a record of a member's guests on any given night.

If you're going to make such an embarrassing statement, you should have your facts straight before you do. MADD's idea, I think, was that the membership requirement is a law-enforcement tool for prosecuting drunk drivers (it is commonly believed here, it seems, that everyone who drinks gets drunk and subsequently drives). I suspect, though, that a Breathalyzer test is evidence enough in most cases.

2 comments:

Loralee Choate said...

I think that statement is stupid and frightening as well.

I have always thought that the liquor laws in Utah are totally silly, even when I was a faithful Mormon.

Jessica said...

I echo Loralee's op completely.