Last year the Utah State Legislature passed HB 442, the new alcohol law, that is having a significant impact on bar and restaurant owners, in Summit County, and around the state. You have probably seen signs in restaurants and bars stating that the establishment is licensed as a restaurant, not a bar, or is licensed as a bar and not a restaurant. This is but one provision of HB 442 that, in part, requires owners of these establishments to declare by May of 2018 what their license type will be (restaurant or bar).
Many of these establishments currently operate under what is called a “Club Dining License”. HB 442 eliminates the Club Dining License, and this is creating significant compliance issues for the owners of establishments that serve both food and alcohol, which in several cases, may put these owners out of business.
The Summit County Republican Party has taken this issue on, working to support our small business owners. We are working with our elected representatives to influence the legislature to make some changes to HB 442 that will allow these small business owners to run their businesses free from overly restrictive oversight from the State Government. To this end, in September of 2017, the Party organized a cottage meeting in Park City where our two state house representatives, Tim Quinn and Logan Wilde attended, along with about 30 owners of bars and restaurants in Summit County. We conducted a 2-hour constructive discussion, where these owners conveyed to Rep’s Quinn and Wilde the specific provisions of the law that were causing them the biggest problems. The cottage meeting was followed up in the first week in November of 2017 with a bar and restaurant tour, where six state house legislators toured five establishments in Summit County, so that the owners could visually show our legislators the challenges (e.g. constructing a 42-inch high barrier 5 feet from the bar) they had in trying to comply with the law, as well as pointing out that attempting to comply with the new law would violate other laws (e.g. fire codes, the Americans with Disabilities Act, etc.). The second week in January of 2018 the Party organized another tour for Senator Kevin Van Tassel (representing Summit County), and Senator Jerry Stevenson, the Senate sponsor of HB 442, where the Senators toured three establishments in Summit County.
The result to date of the Party’s efforts has been that a bill has now been opened for this legislative session to consider modifications to HB 442. Senator Stevenson, after the tour, requested that we submit the top 5 issues that our bar and restaurant owners have with HB 442, along with some recommendations for changes in the law that will mitigate the impact that the law is having on our small businesses. The Party submitted this list to Senator Stevenson on January 12th, and is attached here.
The next step for the Party and the owners will be to attend committee meetings coming up during the legislative session to amplify the list of issues that has been submitted.
Summit County Republicans support our small businesses!