Legislative Committee Passes Bill Requiring Drinker Represenation on Liquor Commission

(KCPW News)  A bill that would require at least two members of the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission be regular consumers of alcohol passed a House committee today.  The bill’s sponsor, Democrat Brian Doughty, said other state commissions, like the real estate and tax commissions, as well as the wildlife board, require members be licensed or have experience in that area.

“It’s my opinion that when the government is regulating and immersed in an industry to the point that Utah is with liquor, that we should have a requirement that that industry have representation from those that are being regulated,” said Doughty.

The state’s current commission already includes two members who drink, one appointed by Governor Huntsman and the other by Governor Herbert.  Because of that, Representative Douglas Sagers said the bill is unnecessary.

“I have several concerns.  First, this does not reflect our demographics.  If I understood it correctly, currently we have two people on the commission that do partake of alcohol, which is great; I have no problem with that,” said Sagers.  “I guess where I struggle is why do we need to change the law and fix something that doesn’t appear to be broken?”

The bill also requires that no more than three members of the commission come from the same political party.  The House Government Operations Committee passed House Bill 193 with a 7 to 3 vote, and it now goes to the house floor for consideration.