A task force created by the Legislature more than a year ago to review Utah's liquor laws is now asking the public for help in determining where changes need to be made.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Task Force is sending out a list of seven general questions to better gauge public opinion.More than 100 area organizations, including those representing tourism and business interests, will receive the questionnaire, according to Dennis Kellen, operations manager for the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Kellen said the public is welcome to comment, too. Deadline for comment is May 1, and the task force will discuss the responses May 10.
"They've done so much talking about brown-bagging and alternative forms of dispensing alcohol that time is really running out if they're going to get anything before the Legislature next session," Kellen said.
Scheduled to report to lawmakers in 1990, the task force has examined only two issues: whether to allow customers to continue to bring their own alcohol into a restaurant or tavern, and whether to do away with minibottles.
Other issues the task force hoped to study included the effect of increasing the number of liquor licenses available to restaurants and how alcoholic beverages should be advertised.
Another issue was raised during the 1989 Legislature, when a proposal to allow liquor to be consumed by limousine and charter bus passengers was killed in the waning hours of the session.
Kellen said a specially tailored questionnaire is being sent to representatives of the limousine and charter bus industry to help sort out the issue.
Also being looked at by the task force instead of legislators is a suggestion that a Salt Lake International Airport lounge be permitted to serve prepared drinks instead of minibottles that customers must mix themselves.
The task force was created by the 1988 Legislature after lawmakers approved allowing minibottles and wine to be brought to customers' tables instead of requiring restaurant patrons to purchase their alcohol at a special counter.
That change, which was labeled a reform, seemed to satisfy both the call for making the state more hospitable to tourists and for giving restaurants more control over how much a customer drinks.
The charge of the task force was to consider whether futher changes in the liquor laws are needed to help further those goals.