Details emerging on liquor law compromise

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SALT LAKE CITY -- One of the most controversial parts of Utah's liquor law is set to be changed. Lawmakers were working out the details Friday afternoon on a compromise that includes eliminating private clubs.

A news conference is planned for Monday to formally announce those changes. The final version of the bill will include provisions that deal with overconsumption and underage drinking, which means stricter laws about drunk driving and minors who drink.

There are also measures to insure that bars keep minors out. They will need to have electronic scanners to verify ID.

Some details have been a challenge to hammer out because there are so many people interested in the issue. "You have bar owners, you have restaurant owners, you have The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you have Mothers Against Drunk Driving; you have various other stakeholders who have a stake in the outcome. They all want to have a piece of the puzzle," said Sen. John Valentine, R-Provo.

Eliminating the private clubs law has been a priority for Gov. Jon Huntsman, who sees it an economic development issue. He says the current laws are seen as weird and burdensome and believes these changes will give visitors a more welcoming image.

A lot of people are already welcoming the change, but we'll have to wait until Monday for the specifics.


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Richard Piatt


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