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Cox says he supports more bar licenses in Utah

Group donates $9.5 million to keep America’s bartenders pouring
Posted at 3:42 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 17:20:41-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Spencer Cox said he would support the legislature creating more bar licenses in Utah.

Speaking to reporters at his monthly news conference on PBS, the governor was asked about a recent FOX 13 report that the legislature signaled its interest in adding more bar licenses.

Gov. Cox said he supported increasing the number of bar licenses available.

"Because we’re the fastest growing state in the nation and so we should be adjusting based on population growth and I want to make sure that people who choose to drink have that opportunity," he said.

The governor said they could achieve a balance of consumer demand and preserving public safety and blocking youth alcohol access. He said Utah's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control under his administration was already making moves to be more consumer-friendly.

"We'll consider it to support well reasoned and moderate improvements in our alcohol policy," he said.

The legislature is contemplating changes in how many bar licenses there are. Right now, it's an arbitrary quota of one license per 10,200 people. Changes to Utah liquor laws typically involve some heavy negotiations on Capitol Hill involving the state's hospitality industry, alcoholic beverage makers and even those who oppose loosening laws like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The governor, who is a Latter-day Saint and does not drink alcohol, recently made changes to the DABC commission including nominating a representative of the hospitality industry to the powerful board.