While a bill that would profoundly alter the structure of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control remains circled in the House, a smaller piece of legislation imposing new requirements for that agency passed the Senate quietly Thursday and is on its way to the Governor.
HB157, sponsored by Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield, requires the DABC to notify a licensee of an infraction within 16-days of its occurrence. Currently, no time limit is applied to the notification process. This, said Oda, has led to problems.
"In some cases, it has taken up to six months to serve notice of violation," Oda said. "No matter how you look at it, that's not fair to licensees."
Oda said that long delays in notification make it difficult for businesses that serve alcohol to address any issues that are creating problems. In some instances, employees involved in violations are no longer even working for the business when they receive a violation notice.
"This is all about due process," Oda said.
Meanwhile, HB344, also sponsored by Oda, remains in a legislative holding pattern. The bill would remove enforcement duties completely from the DABC and place them in the milieu of the Utah Attorney General's office. Oda noted that an agency that controls a process from setting regulations to enforcement and even hearing appeals is inherently problematic ... an inappropriate use of vertical integration.