Flagged Bill: HB 76 – Alcoholic Beverage Service Amendments – Rep. Kraig Powell

Representative Kraig Powell (Republican - Heber)
Representative Kraig Powell (Republican – Heber)

Over the past few years, the Zion Curtain (“an area that separated from an area for the consumption of food by a patron by a translucent, permanent structural barrier such that the facilities for the storage or dispensing an alcoholic product” as the law so legally puts it) has been the source of much consternation among both drinkers and non-drinkers alike.

Supporters claim that the Zion Curtain hides minors from the romanticization of alcohol, preventing them from seeing tempting bottles and suggestive pouring. Opponents note that the drinking still takes place in front of children and that giant walls come across as particularly bizarre to outsiders who may be unfamiliar with Utah’s often quirky liquor laws.

[pullquote]Representative Kraig Powell has attempted to tear down the Zion Curtain for years, this session he is taking a compromise approach with HB 76 [/pullquote]Since the erection of the Zion Curtain, Representative Kraig Powell (Republican – Heber) has attempted to bring the walls down. In 2014 and 2015 Powell tried and failed, to make much headway in tearing down the Boozin Wall.

In 2016, Powell is attempting a slightly different approach with HB 76 – Alcoholic Beverage Service Amendments.

In prior years, Powell attempted to take the Zion Curtain down head-on – saying that they were not necessary and that they had to go. This year, Powell is saying that the Zion Curtain will stay up…unless the restaurant has some sort of separate bar or lounge area that specifically warns parents that alcohol is being dispensed and does not allow people under 21 to sit at the bar to receive any sort of food or drink (exemptions exist if the person under 21 is an employee of the establishment and has to do things such as clean).

Of course, if a restaurant is unable or unwilling to make such changes to their layout, the Zion Curtain remains. As a sort of a compromise, those bars and restaurants that were originally grandfathered in (not having to have a Zion Curtin with the law was first in place) will have to either create a lounge area or erect a Zion Curtain by July 1, 2018, in order to comply with the law, however smaller locations that may not physically be able to conform to the law will remain exempt.

On the back end, this continues to prove that Utah’s liquor laws are quirky and sometimes convoluted, but, at the very least, the end user wouldn’t know what drama was taking place on the hill to get the patron their drink – all they know is that they are in a normal looking lounge, having a drink. This seems like a reasonable compromise that adequately protects children while allowing adults to be adults.

To contact Representative Powell, click here or call 435-654-0501 (work).

You can track this, and all of our other flagged bills, by clicking here. Need an explanation of scores? Click Here.

Impact on Average Utahn 0-1-2-3-4-5
Need for Legislation 0-1-2-3-4-5
Lemon Score 0-1-2-3-4-5
Overall Grade A

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