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Alcohol bill advances in the Utah legislature, without a question about where DUIs are drinking

Posted at 11:09 AM, Mar 04, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that makes some changes to Utah's liquor laws is advancing in the legislature, but only after a controversial question about where people with a DUI have been drinking was removed.

A provision of House Bill 399 would have required police to ask people pulled over for suspected of drunk driving where they had been drinking and document it.

Rep. Timothy Hawkes, R-Centerville, argued it was good to gather data to find out who are the problem bars and restaurants that may be over-serving. Currently, police can ask the question but the bill would require officers to document it. Rep. Hawkes offered an amendment to allow people to invoke Miranda rights against self-incrimination.

But it did not appease members of the House Business and Labor Committee.

"The responsibility still lies on the person who was consuming," Rep. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi, said. "I just have an issue with this."

Rep. Sue Duckworth, D-Magna, made a motion to strike the DUI question. It passed on a 6-5 vote.

"I'm going to call this another nanny state action," she said.

The bill itself does a lot to tweak Utah's alcohol policy. Rep. Hawkes is creating new "arena licenses" for sports and entertainment venues, modifying banquet licensing and prohibiting alcohol from advertising it is "stronger." The bill was modified to remove a requirement that alcohol content labels on beer be a certain font size. Rep. Hawkes acknowledged that was problematic and would have made Utah the only state in the nation with such a requirement.

The bill itself passed unanimously out of committee and now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote.