Committee deals new hand on city liquor cards

"Bar Hard Rock Cafe Prague" by Clock - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Bar Hard Rock Cafe Prague” by Clock – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The city council public safety committee today backed off a proposal to eliminate liquor card permits for workers.

Instead it voted 3-2 to advance a substitute proposal that cuts down on those who must get them.

Under that, people involved in accepting liquor or stocking or arranging displays would no longer need the cards.

Also, temporary liquor card permits would no longer be needed for events put on by non-profits, such as the Irish Fest.

Also workers would have the choice of getting their own criminal background checks if they are comparable to those done by the city.

People convicted of many violent felonies can’t get the cards at all and many other felons are limited.

The action today comes after two hearings that featured testimony from a wide range of people. Link to two stories

Restaurant and bar owners called the cards unfair and a needless burden. Advocates for parolees called them a barrier to jobs and reform. Safety advocates called them needed.

Jim Reedy, manager of the city Regulated Industries division, opposed ending the requirements but said today he supported the substitute measure.

Councilman Scott Taylor voted against the substitute today, saying the law currently on the books has long protected customers and should continue.

Councilman John Sharp, who crafted the substitute, said, “I think this streamlines it but keeps a necessary safeguard in there.”

As for eliminating the permits for temporary events, he said, “They’re kind of a pain and we’re not doing the background checks on them anyway.”

The full city council is to consider a vote on the measure next week.

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