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Utah Close to Fundamental Shift in Alcohol Laws

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A bill to revamp Utah's restrictive alcohol laws has passed the state House of Representatives and Senate, KCPW News reported March 12.

The measure would eliminate private club membership as a prerequisite for buying a drink in a bar, as well as making it easier to purchase alcoholic drinks in restaurants. It passed the House on a 65-5 vote with relatively little debate.

Utah has historically had the toughest alcohol laws in the country; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which prohibits alcohol consumption among members, is a powerful political presence in the state. Bill sponsors said that the measure has the support of the church, however.

“When you talk about alcohol reform, liquor laws, in the state of Utah, there are some inherent stakeholders, whether they be the restaurant association, whether they be the hospitality industry, whether they be Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and yes, the LDS Church,” bill sponsor Rep. Greg Hughes said. “This is an area that they have shown concern in terms of how these laws are written and how they're followed.”

 

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