The DABC is still accepting public comment on a proposed change to its Violation Grid up to August 2, 2010. The proposed change that is drawing the ire of critics is one that would kick up the penalty for not scanning or checking the ID of anyone who appears to be under 35 from a minor violation to a serious violation.
Vickie Ashby a spokeswoman for the DABC says the “rule enhances and clarifies state law and legislative intent.” Which requires the DABC to assign the degree of severity for statutory violations. Minor violations carry with them verbal warnings which if not corrected can lead to license revocation and a possible $25,000 fine. A number of these minor violations will now be considered being moved up to serious level violations that would carry with them written investigation of the first offense as well as possible license revocation or suspensions and a $25,000 fine.Some of the new enhanced penalties include stronger penalties for serving sidecars (extra shots of the primary liquor to a cocktail), failure to use electronic verification for patrons perceived to be under the age of 35—regardless of whether they are actually younger than 21 or not—and allowing alcohol consumption between 2 a.m.-10 a.m would all be serious penalties under the proposed changes.
The rule about scanning has not only drawn criticism from bar owners but even the likes of Ken Wynn, former DABC director for over thirty years, who expressed his concern in a public comment on the rule that City Weekly has obtained. “The proposed penalty for failure to scan a drivers license for proof of age is absolutely over kill on the part of the Department, if not absurd.” Wynn writes.
He points out that if a person is not scanned and no other violation occurs then a fair punishment would be a minor violation. “Three years ago when Chairman Granato [and] Commissioner Strahan were seated the message was ‘there is a new Sheriff in town and licensees could expect fair treatment.’” Wynn writes in the conclusion of his complaint. “This proposed rule is not fair treatment and should be reduced to a minor violation. It is actions like this proposed penalty that makes licensee's loses the respect for the Commission, as this is totally unfair.”
The DABC will discuss the proposed changes at its August 31 meeting.