Liquor card compromise takes shape

"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

A final compromise on liquor card permits is in place, city council members announced Thursday.

Lawyers did not get that done in time for the council meeting this week because they were too busy with the Uber compromise, said John Sharp, chair of the public safety committee.

The full council will vote on it next week.

Sharp and councilman Scott Wagner announced the end to a long political skirmish that included another compromise that imploded.

Wagner introduced an action weeks ago to eliminate all the cards required for decades for any worker who deals with liquor.

Restaurant and bar owners and advocates for parolees supported it. Others called it a threat to public safety.

The compromise would eliminate cards for many workers and temporary cards for non-profit events.

A background check is required for the cards and violent felons like murderers and sex offenders can never get them. Currently other felons like armed robbers can’t get them until eight years after release and drug offenders can’t them until four years after release.

Under the compromise, the armed robber group could get them after five years, drug offenders involving sales after two and drug possession offenders could get them immediately after release, Wagner said.

Also, those applying for the cards could do their own background checks and submit results to the city.

Councilman Scott Taylor, who has opposed any change to the law, said “…why not just leave it alone” as far as drug possession and other matters.

Sharp said, “It was our feeling on simple possession it was worth giving them a chance to have an entry level job – none of this is without risk at all.”

Taylor also noted the Saturday charges against a downtown pizza business owner for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

It shows the risk of assault or theft to people who have had too much to drink, he said.

Wagner said, “That was a person who actually did have a liquor card and that didn’t seem to stop anything.”

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