Drive Through Bill Takes a Stroll Through Committee

Representative Johnny Anderson (Republican - Taylorsville)
Representative Johnny Anderson (Republican – Taylorsville)

Last Friday, after a long and tangential debate, Representative Johnny Anderson’s (Republican – Taylorsville) HB160 – Drive-Through Service Usage Amendments was approved by the House Political Subdivision Committee.

HB160 bans cities and counties from requiring drive through service for bikes and pedestrians, as well as bans cities and counties to require lobby hours to match drive through hours. Anderson, a self-proclaimed biker and regular pedestrian, said in the hearing that the bill made him feel conflicted but felt it was necessary.

Melva Sine, the Executive Director of the Utah Restaurant Association, spoke in favor of the bill stating that changes to who can access drive-throughs imposed unnecessary risks for businesses. Sine noted that the issue arose with Salt Lake City’s decision to pass an ordinance requiring drive-through service for bikes and pedestrians in the city. Sine stated that while her group did meet with the city, it was clear they planned on passing the ordinance regardless of their input.

Representative Curt Webb (Republican – Logan), Chairman of the House Political Subdivision Committee, opened up for public input. First to speak against the bill with Phil Sarnoff of Bike SLC. Sarnoff claimed the bill is not “solid, [or] data driven” and there is a lack of information to back the claims made regarding the safety for bicyclists, liability for companies, and security for employees.

“This tramples on the right of municipalities to self-determination,” says Sarnoff. Sarnoff continues that the bill runs contrary to the efforts to fight smog on the Wasatch Front and prevents those who ride bikes out of necessity to participate economically.

City Councilman Luke Garrott, sponsor of the Salt Lake City ordinance, also spoke against the bill, calling the ordinance a product of compromise. “I’m kind of disappointed how our talks were represented.” Garrot explained that Salt Lake’s complete street program and the gradual development of the ordinance was designed to improve the city and make it friendlier to all forms of transportation.

Gary Moore, a Burger King franchise owner, spoke in favor of the bill. Moore said the ordinance was not a product of compromise with Salt Lake City as Garrott described and that, the late night crowd at Burger King simply posed to big of a risk – in his mind, the risk lost property or employee safety was too great to allow lobby service – a requirement of the Salt Lake ordinance that mandates lobby hours match drive through hours.

“We’re concerned about the safety of our employees… we just think this is a bad idea,” said Moore.

The Committee ultimately approved the bill 7-3 with a favorable recommendation and now moves to the House floor.

One Reply to “Drive Through Bill Takes a Stroll Through Committee”

  1. I am appalled and disgusted that this bill has even been considered by anyone in the Utah legislative body. What rights are prevented by allowing only vehicles in the DRIVE-THRU service at establishments when said establishments have open, walk-in services for pedestrians and reasonable hours for each? If an establishment owner chooses to let pedestrians in the drive-thru, then the owner has that right to set policy without any intrusion or input from the government because the owner assumes all risk. And further, as if the matter was even worth discussing by the legislation, and if I was an attorney (thank God I’m just an atmospheric scientific and aerospace engineer!), I would point out the liability of allowing people on foot or on a bike into the flow of vehicle traffic. With all of the truly legitimate and extraordinarily urgent and important issues facing we Utahns – such as the UNCONSTITUTIONAL NSA facility (I SUPPORT H.B. 150!), usurpation of our state’s rights and stealing of our lands by the federal government, and gay marriage, to name but three – how dare any of you consider such a meaningless, idiotic, and wasteful NON-issue. All representatives who give this bill even one moment of consideration should be ashamed, and, further, should be removed from office for deriliction of duty.

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