Following a special meeting this week of legislators that was necessary to divert the DABC from absurdity of taking beer out of Snowbird’s Oktoberfest, you’d think state leaders would start thinking outside the box about alcohol regulation.
To their credit, lawmakers like Senators Jim Dabakis, Mark Madsen and Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart of the Administrative Rules Review panel tried to dissect the unhinged-from-reality culture of the DABC that regularly makes Utah "the laughing stock of the world."
The lawmakers seemed perplexed and increasingly annoyed at the nonsensical way the DABC writes its enforcement rules. And the dodgy answers the lawmakers got from DABC Director Salvador Petilos didn’t make anyone sanguine about avoiding future PR fiascos for the state's battered tourism image.
Sen. Gene Davis offered a comment that, with a little polishing, should become the mission statement of the DABC:
“Create more hospitality and less hostility toward alcohol and the people who consume these beverages.”
But an obvious solution to derailing many of the DABC's ludicrous and draconian policies and rules would be for the governor to appoint at least one representative from the hospitality/restaurant/resort industry to the DABC Commission.
After all, Gov. Gary Herbert has no qualms at appointing industry representatives to other boards that regulate them—a Rio Tinto executive is the chair of the Air Quality Board and turkey processing chieftains serve on water quality boards. The legislature seems to think that fox-hen house arraingement is a boffo idea.
So why not do the same on the DABC Commission?
Recently appointed DABC commissioner John T. Nielson thinks it’s a good idea. “I would have no opposition to someone from the industry serving on the board,” he said in an interview with Salt Lake magazine.