New state alcohol laws take most of the power of establishing alcohol ordinances away from cities. But cities still have some say in alcohol ordinances, and Orem is making sure that its alcohol ordinance includes whatever changes the city is allowed.
City Attorney Paul Johnson is now revising Orem's alcohol ordinance so it conforms with the new state laws. But before doing so, Johnson wants the City Council's input and asked Tuesday for direction in the areas where the city can make changes.Johnson said the state law supersedes the city ordinance in most cases and makes many parts of the ordinance unenforceable. He said the main purpose of the new law is to establish more statewide uniformity in regulations. Cities, for the most part, no longer control regulations involving on-premise drinking establishments, he said.
"They have stepped into the arena of on-premise consumption saying, `This is ours and we're going to make things uniform statewide,' " Johnson said. "But in doing so the state took authority away from the cities."
Several members of the City Council said they are upset that the state is dictating what can be included in city alcohol ordinances. The regulations were established by the state, but the cities still have to enforce them.
"I don't think that big government is necessarily better . . . and more and more the state is stepping in and telling cities and towns what we can and can't do," Councilwoman Joyce Johnson said.
All licensing of such establishments is now done through the state. No one under the age of 21 can sell alcohol at an on-premise drinking establishment. Hours in which alcohol can be sold are now 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. statewide for retail sales and 1 p.m. to midnight for restaurants. The new state law includes many more regulations that affect local ordinances.
However, Johnson said there are a few areas where the city still can have a say in the alcohol regulations, mostly in retail sales. Among the things cities can do are:
- Require a city license besides the state license.
- Establish dress regulations for employees of on-premise drinking establishments
- Ban beer sales on Sunday.
- Restrict the sale of beer by minors.
Before an establishment can receive a state license, it must either receive a city license or obtain consent from the local administration. Council members said it would not make sense to require a city license along with the state license, and Johnson agrees.
"If they have to follow state laws and get a state license, then why make them jump through two hoops?" Johnson said.
However, some council members expressed concern over the expense of monitoring and enforcing the state regulations, and said licensing fees could cover that expense. But City Manager Daryl Berlin said the revenue collected from such licenses would not contribute significantly to the enforcement costs.
State law allows for beer to be served by topless waitresses and waiters. Johnson said the city can establish its own attire guidelines for employees of on-premise drinking establishments. The council said it wants the ordinance to include the strictest regulations allowed by law.
Under the new state law minors are allowed to sell beer if supervised by an adult. But the council wants the city ordinance to prohibit minors under the age 18 from selling beer. The council also wants the Sunday ban on beer sales to continue.
Since alcohol is consumed in many bowling alleys and on golf courses, state law requires such establishments to be licensed and would not allow minors on the premises. Under the new law, it is illegal for someone to bring alcohol into a bowling alley or onto a golf course. Council members want the city ordinance to clarify the golf course and bowling alley issue and allow minors to be on such premises even though alcohol consumption is allowed.
Johnson said the golf course and bowling alley issue, along with several others, is still being debated and may be changed. He said the attorney general's office will present 39 proposed changes to the law during the next legislative session.