Members of the city’s ad hoc alcohol committee voted Monday to recommend Laramie City Council adopt stricter rules regarding a number of alcohol-related issues.
The committee’s recommendation includes restrictions on “late night” drink specials, increasing fines for the use of a fake I.D., more alcohol compliance checks, increased use of I.D. scanners and requirements for businesses to participate in “tavern meetings” to discuss alcohol issues.
Members of the alcohol committee are likely to suggest more recommendations at the group’s Nov. 25 meeting.
All recommendations require action by the city council, which would also be responsible for crafting the specifics of each proposal.
For example, the committee is recommending restrictions on “late night” drink specials, but it doesn’t specify when “late night” is or what restrictions should apply.
While the committee recommends increasing the frequency of the compliance checks the Laramie Police Department conducts on all alcohol license holders, it doesn’t specify how those additional compliance checks should be paid for.
Currently, LPD relies on $12,000 in grant funding to check each business twice a year to ensure I.D.s are being checked.
While the committee recommends increasing fines for the use of a fake I.D., it doesn’t specify whether that would be done by city ordinance or convincing the municipal judge to impose harsher fines.
Committee-members initially suggested fines be raised for all alcohol-related violations, but limited the recommendation to I.D.-related issues after Bailee Harris, chief of staff for UW’s student body, warned that increased penalties could have a chilling effect, discouraging underage students from calling 911 for an alcohol-related medical emergency.
The two city council members who sit on the alcohol committee, Erin O’Doherty and Jessica Stalder, expressed some skepticism about stricter alcohol rules in Laramie.
Neither, however, voted against any of the recommendations while both abstained from several of the votes.
Stalder said she worried that stricter rules on bars would just push young people to drinking at house parties, where behavior might be less controlled.
“I’m not sure we’re really addressing the problem,” she said of the plan to increase fines for I.D.-related violations.
Roxie Jackson Hensley, owner of Roxie’s on Grand, argued against increasing fines.
“I think that would deter people from coming to the University of Wyoming, to be truthful,” she said.
The committee is also recommending city council explore ways to increase public awareness of the penalties for “providing a dwelling” for minors to drink alcohol in.