House Bill 354: Liquor Changes, piece by piece

House Bill 354: Liquor Changes, piece by piece

Over the past year, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has received some critical legislative audits (PDF). Also over the past year, Rep. Ryan Wilcox and Sen. John Valentine have been negotiating changes to the DABC with shareholders, entrepreneurs, restauranteurs, the Governor’s office, among many others.

Rep. Wilcox’s House Bill 354, Alcoholic Beverage Amendments, proposes changing the managements of the income from mark-ups, and would request that the Department of Public Safety collect data about different aspects of alcohol on our community.

House Bill 354 proposes that the income of the monies collected from mark-ups (net profit) be controlled by the Utah State Tax Commission, rather than the DABC itself. According to some legislative audits, money collected by the DABC has been misused or has been unaccounted for within the agency. The Tax Commission, says Rep. Wilcox, would be “better equipped to manage the fund.  The bottom line is, they focus on fiscal discipline and implementation of policy.”  Currently, both the money and control are managed by the DABC, which has contributed to corruption within the department.

Another proposal within this bill requests that a newly created committee under the Department of Public Safety collect information about the influence of alcohol on our community. The bill would require that this committee would collect information on alcohol abuse, underage drinking, DUI rates, over-serving, and over-consumption. Currently, the data used is either outdated or based on historical precedent. This information would allow for more correct and appropriate policy creation in the future.

Sen. Valentine’s bill has made some changes to the DABC and the Commission itself. For more information, check out the Senate’s blog post on Senate Bill 66.