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Utah Mulls a Database of Bar Customers 623

Posted by kdawson
from the legislating-adulthood dept.
sundancing alerts us to a political dustup in the state of Utah, which doesn't have bars like the rest of the country does. Instead, "private clubs" require you to fill out an application and pay a fee if you want to have a drink outside the home. While there is pressure to reform this arrangement — one argument is that it's bad for tourism — the head of the state senate recently floated a proposal to create a database of every bar patron's visits. Now Utah's governor has called that idea "almost Orwellian," adding that "it's very difficult to legislate adulthood," and its supporters seem to be backing off. The idea of requiring bar patrons to swipe their drivers licenses as proof of age is still on the table, though.
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Utah Mulls a Database of Bar Customers

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  • Ob (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:50AM (#26751543)
    This idea is absolutely mormonic!
    • Phelps poll (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:08AM (#26751885) Homepage Journal

      I saw an amusing poll on ESPN about Michael Phelps, who recently admitted to using pot.

      Across the country about 75%-90% said they thought no less of the best swimmer in the world for using a recreational drug.

      Except in Utah where almost 50% said they thought less of him. They are very detached from the mainstream.

      • Re:Phelps poll (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:14AM (#26752025) Journal

        I thought less of him. But just for being stupid enough to let his picture get taken with a drug when he has tens of millions of endorsements that could go down the drain. Crap, if I had that much money in endorsements just for being the best at moving my arms back and forth really fast (oversimplification, but the point is that it is not a real social benefit to be able to swim fast), I sure as hell wouldn't do anything to risk it.

        So while smoking a joint doesn't shock me, his stupidity does. He went through this before with a DUI, he should be smarter than that.

        • Re:Phelps poll (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Shakrai (717556) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:57AM (#26752903) Journal

          I thought less of him. But just for being stupid enough to let his picture get taken with a drug

          Well, that was pretty stupid of him but in the day and age of the camera phone it's pretty hard to avoid having your picture taken. I think a lot less of the dipshit that took the picture and opted to give/sell it to a tabloid. Anybody with a half a brain could realize the likely outcome of that to a person like Phelps. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I wouldn't sell such a picture if I knew it was likely to ruin someones life/career.

          not a real social benefit to be able to swim fast

          Eh, it's a benefit to society in that it provides entertainment which provides rest and relaxation.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Yes.

            I too would like the identity of the "squealer" to be exposed.

            It's at least as valid a news story as printing the photo was.

            It has the feel of a real pipsqueak seeking disproportionate revenge.

            Hey, isn't that the same psychology that those Virgina Tech/Columbine etc.
            tragedies have in common?

            Maybe the school where this photo was taken really DOES need to investigate.

          • Anybody with a half a brain could realize the likely outcome of that to a person like Phelps.

            So you are saying that Phelps has less than half a brain? When he decided to become a professional athlete, whose income depends on (a) his athletic performance and (b) his public image, he should have been aware that his public life is exactly that, public.

            When someone's career is selling an image, his life should be what the image portrays, or he would be a fraud.

            Maybe I'm old fashioned but I wouldn't sell such a

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by u38cg (607297)
            More to the point, if he inspires a bunch of youngsters to do some exercise once in a while then there is a very real benefit to society.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by edmicman (830206)

          Actually, with global warming causing icecaps to melt and whatnot, his crazy swimming abilities might actually have an evolutionary benefit! I, for one, welcome our half-fish super-fast-swimming overlords.

        • Re:Phelps poll (Score:5, Insightful)

          by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Friday February 06, 2009 @02:47PM (#26755851) Homepage

          You say he was stupid to get a picture taken while holding a joint, but really what is stupider ?

          A. Smoking marijuana recreationally with friends, on private time ?

          B. Believing that a photo of a harmless victimless act represents a big heinous crime punishable by shame and shunning ?

          If you're desperate to fight drugs, at least fight the invariably evil ones like backyard meth and crack. Those drugs actually destroy people, but with pot, the drug itself is mostly harmless, it's the naysayers who are the ones destroying lives with their near-religious bigotry.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hatta (162192)

        I think much less of Michael Phelps for apologizing. He did absolutely nothing wrong.

        • Re:Phelps poll (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Shakrai (717556) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:58AM (#26752917) Journal

          I think much less of Michael Phelps for apologizing. He did absolutely nothing wrong.

          You'd suck it up and apologize too if your livelihood was on the line....

          • Re:Phelps poll (Score:4, Insightful)

            by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Friday February 06, 2009 @12:54PM (#26753977)

            His livelihood is most certainly not on the line. He already has millions, and is either a graduate of or close to a degree at Michigan. Even if he quit swimming and dropped all his endorsements, starting a "normal" life at 23 with that backing you up is a recipe to live *extremely* well.

          • Re:Phelps poll (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Friday February 06, 2009 @01:04PM (#26754193) Homepage

            What he really should do is grow a pair, and use his position as an incredible athlete to speak out against the persecution of pot smokers.

            His performance in Beijing totally DESTROYS all the standard "potheads are losers who will never amount to anything" line of bullshit that we have been spoonfed for years.

            He should also tell Kellogg's cereal to go fuck themselves, and seek sponsorship deals from EZ-Wider and Dominos Pizza. :)

            • Re:Phelps poll (Score:5, Insightful)

              by witherstaff (713820) on Friday February 06, 2009 @02:44PM (#26755807) Homepage
              Kids don't do drugs, or you may grow up to have more gold medals then anyone else, or even the President of the United States. [reason.com]

              Hopefully Obama follows through with his view that "we need to...decriminalize our marijuana laws". While I'm not a user I'm all for clearing our jails/prisons from harmless offenders, or saving billions from a failed 'drug war'.
      • I've yet to come across any youthful geek-goth-emo-indy-gamer-progressive-wirehead-gearhead whatever who views him or herself as "the mainstream." Everybody is just too cool for the room, proud to be part of that hip 10% who think or do something a different way. To criticize the people of Utah for being "detached from the mainstream" is the height of hypocrisy.

        In fact, in a nation of talkers, nobody walks the walk like the Utah folk. You may not agree with the way they live their lives -- in fact, that'

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Tiger4 (840741)

          proud to be part of that hip 10% who think or do something a different way

          Include me in. I too am part of the 90% that thinks they are in the top 10%.

          The rest of you losers are in the 10% that knows they are in the bottom 90%.

  • bad title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:50AM (#26751561)

    Wouldn't the story more accurately be titled "Utah stops mulling a database of bar customers"?

  • Holy moly... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Orleron (835910)
    That's really scary! Is it really true that there are no conventional bars in UT? I sincerely hope this is inaccurate. Can anyone from UT give some insight? Do Mormons in UT's gov't really control your lives in so much depth that they legislate what you are allowed to do in your own free time?
    *boggles*
    • Re:Holy moly... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mbone (558574) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:58AM (#26751685)

      There are conventional bars in Utah, or at least there are things that look a lot like bars, they just are technically clubs and require you to fill out a form and pay a small "membership fee" to get a drink.

      I don't know whether, like Virginia, they require the bar to also serve food, but I would bet that they do, and the ones that I went to had restaurants attached. (In the 1960's, by the way, bars in Fairfax, Virginia, also required, or at least were supposed to require, membership.)

      • Re:Holy moly... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by funkify (749441) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:32AM (#26752345)

        There are conventional bars in Utah, or at least there are things that look a lot like bars, they just are technically clubs and require you to fill out a form and pay a small "membership fee" to get a drink.

        This is only true if either A) the "club" is otherwise totally empty, or B) you are such a complete and total douchebag that nobody would want you to come into the bar. The reason is because there is a provision in this stupid law that allows any club member to sponsor you as a guest, apparently for free. And while I am not a member of any such clubs so I don't know exactly how small the "membership fee" is, I am told that at many such clubs the fee is laughably small. The more exclusive ones (the fun clubs in Park City, for example) charge a higher fee because they can.

        I live in Utah, and while I am not a frequent bar patron, I do go on occasion. The first time I went out to a bar after moving here, I was shocked to find out that I would not be allowed to enter without a membership or being sponsored by a member. Then the door girl explained that you just ask anybody to sponsor you, and they will. She asked the next guy in for me. "Hey, will you sponsor this guy?" He replied, yeah sure, like it was an everyday thing.

        There are social benefits to this. Since frequent bar patrons have an incentive to become members of their favorite "club", the clubs seem to gravitate a certain type of person far more than in other places I have lived or visited. In other words, the cool clubs really are cool, and are often completely lacking in douchebags which is a welcome change from just about anywhere else in the world.

        I may be wrong on this, but I believe if there is an event at the club on any given night, the membership requirement is waived. The dance clubs capitalize on this by hosting "events" every night of the week with a cover charge, so they essentially circumvent the law.

        It's unfortunate that the Utah state legislosers play such a tremendous role in perpetuating oddball stereotypes about this state. In reality, most Mormons are very nice people, and most non-Mormon Utahns, in their ever-increasing numbers, do a great job of being non-Mormons.

      • Re:Holy moly... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by flitty (981864) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:38AM (#26752469)
        Liquor Laws require that any Restauraunt serve a higher percentage of food than Liquor. If you buy a drink from a restaurant, they often require you get an entree too for this reason. If they sell more drinks than food, their liquor license gets changed to a private club, and then they have to charge the private club fee.

        Social gatherings in any place outside homes and bars (say, an art show) is limited to ONE glass of Wine per person, only 3x a year. We have something called the gallery stroll (through the downtown art galleries) and they cannot serve alcohol other than those 3x a year.

        Bars and clubs also MUST buy liquor from the state, too. So bars cannot get a volume discount from say, jack daniels, and they pay the same price that any local pays for alcohol, with the high taxes and all.

        Then, we have the limit on the amount of alcohol in a drink. you can only have 1 oz of hard liquor in a drink, mixed with 1.5 oz of non-alcoholic flavoring. As far as I know (I don't go out to drink here, it's too expensive/hard) you cannot mix alcohol types, so essentially, no Long Island Ice Teas or any other multiple spirit drinks.

        The most frustrating thing about the database was reported in the news as "The Latter day saints church has no problem with changing the laws to make a database". That's not news! It's an incidental, not the reason, but it's well known that state legislators always meet with Church leaders before making changes like this.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          That's not entirely accurate. The law was changed last year so that the primary alcohol in a drink (say vodka in a long island, or a single shot of anything) can contain up to 1.5 ounces of a certain alcohol. The most any drink can contain is 2.5 ounces. Previously, it was a max of 1 ounce of primary, and a total of 2.75 ounces. You can get long islands (or any of it's billion other varieties such as long beach, etc), but the flavor will probably be off due to anywhere from 1 ounce to 1.5 ounces of prim
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by QuantumRiff (120817)

          Actually, many states have the state owned liquor distributors. COSTCO is currently suing the states of Washington and Oregon over it. California does not have such a law, and it was awesome to see half gallons of Smirnoff for much less than what a 5th of smirnoff costs in Oregon. Good luck in Oregon trying to find liquor after 9pm! Or on a Sunday!

    • They also limit the alcohol content of beer below a certain percentage. It's a rather strange state.

      • Re:Holy moly... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Shakrai (717556) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:11AM (#26751961) Journal

        They also limit the alcohol content of beer below a certain percentage. It's a rather strange state.

        That's not actually that uncommon. New York (hardly a red state full of religious types) does something similiar. New York also prohibits grocery stores from selling wine/spirits (they can sell beer though) and liquor stores from selling beer (they sell wine/spirits).

        • Re:Holy moly... (Score:5, Informative)

          by snarfies (115214) on Friday February 06, 2009 @12:11PM (#26753189) Homepage

          Hell, that's nothing. In Pennsylvania you cannot buy ANY form of alcoholic beverage in a grocery store, drug store, or convenience store. ALL non malt-based liquor (vodka, whiskey, etc) is sold exclusively at state-owned liquor stores. All malt-based liquor (beer, wine coolers, etc) must be purchased at a beverage distributor - though if you just want a six pack or a 40, you can get them at the local deli, but NOT a convenience store, a bit of an odd exception.

          The PA liquor stores do swipe your ID through a reader if they choose to card you (the clerks are trained to use their best judgement - I used to be one in college), and I've seen a few Philadelphia-area bars do the same.

        • Re:Holy moly... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Alinabi (464689) on Friday February 06, 2009 @12:40PM (#26753739)

          New York (hardly a red state full of religious types) does something similar.

          I lived in upstate NY for 6 long years and I can attest to the fact that, apart from NYC, it is basically a red state full of religious types.

    • Re:Holy moly... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by peektwice (726616) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:02AM (#26751773)
      Is this news to anyone? Where I live, in a dry county, the same rules apply. Liquor in private clubs only, and you have to sign in, and pay to be a "member". There is a lot of circumvention of the rules, but to get booze, I have to drive to the state line. I agree that it's backasswards, but it's not news. In Utah it's Mormons, elsewhere, it's Baptists. These guys need to learn how to party like Lutherans.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bgray54 (1207256)
      Utah actually does have "bars" in addition to these private clubs. But the bars can only serve beer and wine. http://www.visitutah.org/liquorlaws.htm [visitutah.org]
    • Re:Holy moly... (Score:5, Informative)

      by marbike (35297) * on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:32AM (#26752361) Homepage

      Utahn here. Here is a brief synopsis of what you can expect about drinking in Utah.

      Taverns are bars that sell beer only. They do not require memberships, can only sell 3.2% alcohol content beer. Food is not required to be served. Pitchers of beer must be shared between at least two people.

      Private Clubs are bars that can sell stronger beer and spirits. A membership is required, or to be the guest of a member. In practice many places don't pay a lot of attention to this requirement. Many offer a temporary membership for around $5. The average price for a year membership is $12. Only one mixed drink per person at a time can be served. Pitchers of beer must be shared between at least two people.

      Restaurants. If a restaurant has a liquor license they can sell spirits and beer without requiring memberships. However, you have to purchase food at the same time. Some restaurants only have a tavern license and only offer beer pr wine.

      Liquor stores are a state run monopoly. You have to go to the state package store in order to purchase wine, beer stronger than 3.2% or spirits. This is the only way to purchase these products.

      I wrote this article years ago regarding drinking in Utah. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A279731 [bbc.co.uk]

  • Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

    by xpuppykickerx (1290760) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:51AM (#26751569)
    Tourism? In Utah?
    • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by swb (14022) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:42AM (#26752563)

      "Greatest Snow On Earth" and they're right.

      I'd gladly pay double (and generally do!) to ski Deer Valley than most crowded places in Colorado.

      I love the LDSers -- they run a clean operation and they don't let their religion get in the way of fun for tourists (I've NEVER had a problem drinking in Park City or SLC).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Neoprofin (871029)
        As someone who travels constantly, I've never been unimpressed by the price, cleanliness, or quality, of hotels in the SLC/Provo area.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:51AM (#26751577)
    I honestly don't mean this as a troll, but seriously, how much non-Mormon tourism is there in Utah? The only place I can think of (of the top of my head) there that might attract tourists is Arches National Park [wikipedia.org] (made somewhat famous in environmentalist circles by Edward Abbey's [wikipedia.org] book "Desert Solitaire"), and it mostly attracts hikers not partiers. But, aside from that, how many non-Mormons actually come to Utah as tourists? And even if you were such a tourist, who the hell goes to Utah to drink?!? Isn't that what Nevada is for?
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      I honestly don't mean this as a troll, but seriously, how much non-Mormon tourism is there in Utah?

      There's Antelope Island, and actually as a non-Mormon I thoroughly enjoyed the architecture, the cleanness and the visitor centre tour of Salt Lake City. Oh, and they have a world-class Ski resort! And coming from the UK seeing a city centre at night that is not full of drunken yobs puking in the gutter was a novelty.

      I do agree though, nine out of ten visitors seemed to be Mormons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In Utah there are lots of National Parks there (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef), National Monuments, and a National Recreation Area. Between them, they draw in something over five million visitors per year, IIRC. All are big with hikers and nature enthusiasts. Canyonlands and Grand Staircase-Escalante are also big with the mountain biking and off-road vehicle crowd.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by zindorsky (710179)

      I honestly don't mean this as a troll, but seriously, how much non-Mormon tourism is there in Utah?

      Apparently a lot of people like to strap long slats to their feet and then hurtle down snow covered mountains at high speeds. Some say Utah is a good place to do this.

      Also, every January thousands of black-clad posers come and put on some kind of film festival. Something about dancing on the sun.

  • Where I live they like to only license them as 'private clubs' and often need you to 'join' by letting them swipe your driver's license. I walk out when they ask for that. I walk out if they want my driver's license and credit card to open a tab. I walk out if I have to do anything more than someone sitting at a restaurant who has a couple of beers with dinner. So far, I've not suffered for it. But if anyone from Utah is listening, I won't visit Utah if I have to become a club member to have a drink at the

  • by mbone (558574) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:52AM (#26751607)

    This is not about legislating adulthood, it is about legislating religion. There is a difference.

  • Out of curiosity (Score:2, Interesting)

    I checked out a database on violent crime broken down by state. Utah's overall violent crime rate is less than half that of the nation, and murder rate 1/3 of that of the nation as a whole.

    So while I don't like the "big brother" mentality, the moral code does have concrete benefits.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:56AM (#26751671) Homepage Journal
    "The idea of requiring bar patrons to swipe their drivers licenses as proof of age is still on the table, though. "

    Say what?!?!?

    Ok...this is really getting scary. Why should I have to swipe my drivers license (remenber, it was given as proof of driving certification, tax..etc) to get a drink? And why the hell should anyone know when I go to a bar (or anywhere else for that matter)?

    Now...I'm thinking...if the RealID thing does finally come to fruition, well now...this national database would have some good data to throw in it. Let's cut benefits on (possibly coming) your national healthcare. Since you drink, and are exposed to smoke (well, you still can at most bars I go to)...you are a health risk and we the govt. won't pay as much for you. Or even with private insurance, I'm sure they'll get ahold of this sooner or later.

    Amd..once the populace accepts swiping for bar entry...well, I'm sure they won't mind swiping for entry into drug stores, that would help gather your meds usage. How about grocery store for purchases, that way we can track your unhealthy eating habits.

    And then of course...no need for EZPass...your nifty new drivers license will have RFID...so, that will make it easier for you....we can track your travels.

    Ok, some of this sound far fetched? It might not be....the govt. lawnakers start small enough, but, pretty much every law passed has been expanded or abused.

    In discussions yesterday, I recalled that when they first started passing seatbelt laws, they stated emphatically that the cops could NOT pull you over for not wearing one, but, if they pulled you over for something else, like running a stop sign, and saw you weren't wearing one....they could cite you.

    Well, a few years later, once that was agreeable....they changed it, to being able to pull you over if they see you without one.

    • by Shakrai (717556)

      Now...I'm thinking...if the RealID thing does finally come to fruition, well now...this national database would have some good data to throw in it. Let's cut benefits on (possibly coming) your national healthcare. Since you drink, and are exposed to smoke (well, you still can at most bars I go to)...you are a health risk and we the govt. won't pay as much for you.

      Go ahead and laugh but this is one of the reasons that I'm leery of UHC. You just know that some jackass is going to use it to expand the war on vice. They started with cigarettes and alcohol -- next it will be soda [nydailynews.com] or fast food. Sure am glad that we have a nanny state to fret about us though -- otherwise we could get hurt.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pavon (30274)

        They started with cigarettes and alcohol -- next it will be soda or fast food.

        Amen. I already hear folks using the argument that people with bad diets harm them by increasing emergency room visits that they have to pay for. This sort of reasoning will only get worse when we are paying for healthcare directly. I'm sorry liberals, but I don't want your charity if you think it entitles you to dictate the way I live my life.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jcgf (688310)

          I'm sorry liberals, but I don't want your charity if you think it entitles you to dictate the way I live my life.

          ...

          Liberalism: a political ideology that seeks to maximize individual liberties.

          If they are telling you what to do, they ain't liberal.

  • If you have to belong to a private club to drink outside of your home how does this cause a problem for tourism? What tourists are joining these clubs just to have a few drinks during their visits to the state? Maybe the "private club" concept is different in Utah than PA but around here if you had to join a private club to get a drink it just wouldn't happen in the matter of a week or two.
  • by BlueNoteMKVI (865618) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:09AM (#26751913) Homepage

    In Texas, cities can decide to be wet or dry. In a "dry" city, a restaurant that serves alcohol must be a "private club." It's not so much a "private club" in that there are significant membership requirements, anyone can join if they're of age and there's no membership fee or ongoing responsibilities. I'm sure it's just another way for the city to tax the restaurant - how much does it cost to get a "private club" permit?

    So if you're eating out and you want to have a beer, you must present a club membership card. Most restaurants have signed up with a company called Unicard. If you sign up at one Unicard restaurant...er..."private club" then you are automatically a member everywhere that takes Unicard. Years ago you actually got a separate membership card. Now it's associated with your driver's license number. When I was waiting tables the computer would refuse to let me input a drink order until I swiped a customer's Unicard (or driver's license). I'm sure that the computer was checking with the Unicard database to make sure that the person was actually a member. Was it tracking them? I have no idea. Probably so, in case the restaurant needed to look back and prove that a certain customer was in fact a member of the club when they bought that drink. Aside from the inherent lawsuit risks of serving alcohol, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is known for being ruthless and handing down VERY expensive fines to the restaurant and the waiter for any infraction.

    A significant difference here is that Unicard is a private company, not a government entity. I'm sure they'll be quick to share their database if asked by a court, especially if it involves "terrists" or kiddie porn.

    Disclaimer: IANAW (any more). I haven't waited tables for several years and I rarely drink when I'm out. Things may be different now.

  • Solutions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CompMD (522020) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:10AM (#26751939)

    Got an RFID tag in your drivers license? Throw it in the microwave for 2 seconds.

    Got a magstripe on your drivers license? Rub it with a magnet a few times.

    Got a barcode on your drivers license? Use a little fine grit sandpaper on a few blocks.

    Oh, that's funny, I wonder why your reader can't read my license. Must not be working right.

    • Re:Solutions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shock1970 (1216162) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:19AM (#26752153)
      Which is all fine and dandy until you can't get served at a bar because of it!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by swillden (191260)

      If smart card chips (not RFIDs, per se) were less reliable that might work. The reality is that they're highly reliable and durable, so just about the only way to make one cease functioning is to deliberately destroy it.

      That being the case, if they decide to require chip-based age verification, the law will just state that allowing an individual to drink in a bar without having electronically-verified his age is an infraction -- one that might result in withdrawal of the establishment's liquor license.

  • It'll never happen (Score:3, Informative)

    by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:27AM (#26752241) Homepage Journal

    I live in Utah and these sorts of rumblings are a mainstay. They never pass because they're stupid, and everyone knows they're stupid, but they're a way for pols to get their name in the paper in a way they think will appeal to their constituency.

    In this case, though, it appears to be backfiring. Even Waddoups' heavily-LDS district is largely rolling their eyes at this one. It probably won't damage him, though.

    I DO, however, expect that if Utah deploys REAL ID driver's licenses -- the kind with chips in them -- that they'll start to require electronic age verification just because it's so much harder to forge than a driver's license. Assuming no databases are built, that's a reasonable approach to limiting under-age drinking.

  • by beadfulthings (975812) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:54AM (#26752831) Journal

    I have, and it's a puzzling experience. I was there on IT business for a week, about a year before they hosted the Olympics.

    In the area around Park City, you didn't need to join the "private club." At a casual Italian place, we all wanted to order a beer. You couldn't say to the server, "What do you have on tap?" She replied by bringing a beer menu because it wasn't appropriate (perhaps illegal?) for her to actually discuss the alcoholic beverages with us.

    We did the "private club" thing at a very good steakhouse in Salt Lake City. I believe it was $10 for the "membership." If you ordered a mixed drink--any mixed drink--the server automatically said, "Would you like a sidecar with that?" (A sidecar being an additional measured shot of whatever booze was involved.) Martinis arrived in glasses only 3/4 full because the hooch was so precisely measured.

    The freakish thing about it was that, because it was a "private club," it was perfectly OK to smoke anywhere--right at the table, right next to a table that might or might not have been hosting smokers. No problem. So the other big Mormon no-no, tobacco, is apparently not quite as regulated.

    My observation over the week were that the Mormons among our hosts had no problems at all with our ordering a drink, beer, or wine at dinner. The company hosted us at a very nice private dinner party on our last evening, and alcohol was readily available. I chose not to drink that evening to conform to their sensibilities, then screwed up by ordering an iced tea.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smellsofbikes (890263)

      >then screwed up by ordering an iced tea.

      So very complicated.
      Iced tea isn't okay because it's still tea. But Doctrine & Covenants 89:9 specifically says "And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly." Cold tea isn't listed: it's been included by association with hot tea. But at the same time, Doctrine & Covenants 89:12 says "Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly"

  • Evolution in Action (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thethibs (882667) on Friday February 06, 2009 @12:18PM (#26753317) Homepage

    From a Canadian viewpoint, one of the fascinating things about the U.S. is that, in many ways, it's composed of a few dozen political experiments, all going on at once. Each succeeds to the extent that people choose to live in a particular state and thrive there.

    Utah is not New York. They could be on different planets, and yet they are both populated by people who call themselves Americans. The opportunities for comparative anthropology are immense.

  • Ah...Utah (Score:5, Funny)

    by techoi (1435019) on Friday February 06, 2009 @12:19PM (#26753329)
    You are still the only state that can, at times, makes us in Idaho feel a little less backwards. Thanks.

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