Lawmakers Discuss Troubled DABC’s Future

(KCPW News) Utah Senate President Michael Waddoups and House Speaker Becky Lockhart addressed a recent audit of the Utah Department of Alcoholic and Beverage Control in a news conference this morning at Salt Lake Community College. Lockhart says working on restructuring the DABC will be one of the major tasks during the upcoming legislative session starting in January.

“We haven’t seen legislation yet,” she says. “We haven’t seen the kinds of proposals that might be out there in terms of full privatization versus partial, versus changing the commission to maybe a full-time commission, maybe not, changing the role the commission plays; that’s all out there on the table, that’s all going to be discussed in the next couple months leading up to the session.”

President Waddoups says even with the legislature stepping in to reform the system, a lot of changes will also be handed down directly by the Governor.

“I think that you will find that there will be continuing changes there. Ms. Giani obviously doesn’t intend to be the permanent director,” Waddoups says. ” The executive branch will be making those decisions however, we do not hire and fire within the executive branch from the legislature; we set policy and state statute. That will be a decision that the Governor and the executive branch will have to make.”

Both Waddoups and Lockhart say they were alarmed to learn about the alleged corruption within the DABC, and say the legislature will work with interim director Francine Giani on how to change the culture of the whole department.