Comments about ‘Leaders debate reality, perception of Utah liquor laws’

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Published: Saturday, Aug. 3 2013 11:35 p.m. MDT

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Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Normalize. I've been in hundreds of restaurants all over this country, and it's obvious to me when I'm in a bar or a restaurant. Restaurateurs are not stupid and they also know the difference. This is one you can leave to the market. At the same time, I'm in favor of the stiffest possible penalties for DUI. Do NOT let these people drive.

Vince Ballard
South Ogden, UT

Governor Huntsman buried the hatchet between factions on this issue a few years ago. Now some opportunists on one side and zealots on the other have dug it up again. Shame on them.

Murray, UT

Why do we need to keep revisiting this issue? The vast majoirity of adults in this state do not drink and underage drinking is the lowest in the nation. Our policies and laws are working. The laws have been bent far enough for those who want to drink. Walk into any grocery store and the aisles are filled with beer. Provo and just about very city in the state now sells beer on Sunday. If anything get the beer out of the grocery stores. Enough is enough. We don't need to cow tow to these private interest groups any longer. I am all for free markets but even they need rules and regulations otherwise we will revert back to being like Tombstone, AZ.

Pleasant Grove, UT

"If you do this the church will lose more members to alcoholism."

Are the LDS Church and its members really so weak and unable to control themselves that the only thing keeping them from getting drunk is civil and criminal law? Does this mean that Mormons in the other 49 states are closet boozers who ignore church teaching because there isn't sufficient criminal liability to rein them in? The fact is, state laws that enforce church teachings tend to create only an appearance of piety in the state. It makes adherence to beliefs superficial since members are required to do it by law without internalizing the doctrines behind those beliefs. It also reduces the support and desire for religious outreach programs when, to the casual observer, everyone in the state is already following church beliefs.

St.George, Utah

Perception of Utah?
Residents may yearn for days of old, and isolation from the big bad world and it's evil ways. An oasis of clean, non drug, happiness is the ideal many have hoped to find in the state of Utah.
In order to keep Utah in the running for conventions, Olympics, big races, new business, etc., this utopic lifestyle is no longer possible.
Alcohol does not fit in the historic plan of the state.
Those who are the strongest, most powerful, influential, most vocal, and wealthiest are the leaders of business and government. They make the majority of the decisions, making the way for change and leading the way.
Building up their portfolios in order to accrue more wealth continues to be their life's goal.

Salt Lake City, Utah

I work in the skiing industry. I constantly talk to people about planning their ski vacations here and they overwhelmingly say, " but aren't the liquor laws too tight there?'. A huge number of people choose to ski in Colorado or New Mexico because they know they can enjoy "apres ski" in those states. That could amount to millions of travel industry dollars, and jobs, that Utah is losing out on! This past season when some of my clients from New York found out they were drinking 3.2 beer they all said, " Well [darn]! We aren't coming back here again!" If you are arguing that normal liquor laws would make us socially irresponsible you are missing the point.We could have "normalcy" and still be responsible with education and enforcement. Trying to legislate morality doesn't work. We know that. Utah is the number one state in the country for pornography addiction! I know several families that drive to Wyoming every month to buy alcohol! That is revenue that is leaving the state every day! If we were "closer to normal" then these amazing mountains would draw in soooo many more families to experience the greatest snow on earth!


PA has weird alcohol distribution laws. Beer is sold in grocery-type stores only if they have a cafe and separate cash register for beer purchases. All other types of alcohol are sold in state-owned liquor stores. Beer can be bought at "beverage" stores, beer distributors--mostly by the case. If one merely wants to buy a six pack of beer they can go to a bar which may/may not sell 6 packs or to another type of beer store. However, one can go in restaurant-bars or bars and order drinks without extra regulatons.

Despite the laws in PA, it doesn't have a lower incidence of drunk driving fatalities than surrounding states.

The lower incidence of drunk driving and associated fatalites/injuries in UT is largely due to the homogenous population, dominated by the LDS Church, not because drinks are hidden behind a "curtain."

What responsibilty should bars have in making sure their patrons don't exceed the blood alcohol limit?

In CA at least, someone involved in a drunk-driving accident, either the perpetrator or the victim can sue the establishment where the person got drunk.

small town granny
small mining town, UT

Utah is different, and isn't it wonderful? How blessed we are, why would we even WANT to be like other states? Utah was founded by brave pioneers who wanted to live according to the dictates of their own consciences.
If you don't appreciate the wonderful differences we enjoy, why not go where you can be as drunk as you please?

West Jordan, UT

What does normalize mean anyway? Areas in the South make Utah's liquor laws look positively permissive and the LDS church is not even prevalent. People claim that the large amount of LDS people in the state are the reason this is so. Probably. But then you'd have to admit that that is why our cities and our states are fiscally and economically strong and why we have lower crime rates than many states do as well. There is also this mistaken idea that LDS people look down on people who drink. No. I have been in many social situations where perfectly nice people enjoy a glass of wine. In fact, I don't believe it is necessarily a bad thing. But the Word of Wisdom asks us to avoid alcoholic beverages in order to avoid many of the problems that can arise from the misuse of alcohol. In addition I think the church and state need to better educate people about the dangers of prescription painkillers and exactly how they work on the brain. Utah is one of the top problem states when it comes to this type of abuse, as bad a problem as alcohol.

Brooklyn, NY

I have met people from Europe and East Coast that traveled to Utah, years ago, and were so turned off by the experience that they won't return. I explain to them, that things have progressed. But the damage is already done and their negative association with the product (Utah) means they won't buy it again.

I think teetotalers assume that drinking is always about an immoral practice or drunken, irresponsible, debauchery. Which, it can be. But it can also just be meeting friends for brunch and preferring a mimosa, rather than a diet coke with lemon. Just like I prefer a Denver omelet to pancakes.

Most of the comments I'm reading are obviously from people that do not drink or own businesses based in tourism and so the comments lack perspective on the nuances which are unreasonable. I think there is a difference between laws that actually serve a functional purpose and laws that just make people feel good. Was there an explosion of crime after the major private club law changed? Or is life fairly similar?

Moab, UT

Why anyone in their right mind would want Utah to be like other states is beyond me. If you consider higher underage drinking, higher crime rates, higher domestic violence and more DUI's is "normal", then you've got bigger problems than the Zion curtain.

Sugar City, ID

Liberalized alcohol availability should be accompanied by much more stern penalties for irresponsible use of alcohol. E.g. Drunk driving: $10,000 and 5 years suspension of all driving privileges.

Debbie G
Cedar City, UT

Why are we wasting time on this. Leave it as is. Can we get on with more important issues, rather than wasting time and money on this. We don't need to be like everyone else. Why would we want to try. Utah is a great state to live in,let's keep it like that. We make these kind of changes, and it will just hurt us. So leave the law alone.

south jordan, UT

I do not drink alcohol but I have friends who do and it appears that the intent of all liquor laws in Utah is to humiliate people who do drink alcohol. Utah republicans and conservatives insist on less government unless it pertains to any moral law.

Salt Lake City, UT

I give credit for the low levels of alcohol consumption in Utah to the teachings of the Church Laws are irrelevant to believers--laws will neither increase nor decrease consumption. Therefore, enforce laws that directly affect dangerous activities like drinking and driving, and make the rest conform to what other states do. A .05 alcohol level for driving would be a good start. In Scandinavia the tolerance is 0. that is a good direction to go.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

"Normalize" that is a biased line. Alcohol restrictions are Normal. 50,000 people jumping off a bridge, is it normal to follow? The only reason that folks say boo about alcohol controls in Utah is Anti-Mormon sentiment. Truth be told, there are countless non-Members in Utah that relish the controls. Utah is not dry, and I for one hate having to walk by an open bar when I want to go out for supper.

Brigham City, UT

"Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!...My Christian brother, be kind and benevolent like God, and do not spoil his good work. He made wine to gladden the heart of man ..." - Benjamin Franklin.

"The almost universal health among the students, was to be ascribed, next to early rising and beef and mutton pies at Commons, to the very moderate use of wine and ardent spirits. When our barrells and bottles in the Cellar were empty, we used to Size it at the Buttery, and I shall never forget, how refreshing and salubrious we found it ..." - John Adams.

"I rejoice, as a moralist, at the prospect of a reduction of the duties on wine ... It is an error to view a tax on that liquor as merely a tax on the rich. It is a prohibition of its use to the middling class of our citizens ... No nation is drunken where wine is cheap ... Its extended use will carry health and comfort to a much englarged circle" - Thomas Jefferson.

Salt Lake City, UT

Just as an aside, for those who venerate the founders (most of us do), Benjamin Franklin said beer was proof of God's love for man. Moreover, beer was the drink of choice during colonial times. It seems to have gotten us off to a pretty good start.

Rural Hall, USA, NC

I am all for the restrictions, and am glad that Utah makes it as difficult as possible. Let the other 50 states "legalize adulthood" but Utah can stay tough on Alcohol providers and consumers!

Salt Lake City, UT

"The only reason that folks say boo about alcohol controls in Utah is Anti-Mormon sentiment. "

Or they just want a glass of wine or a beer with dinner without being treated like they're either children or trying to obtain a prostitute.

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