New Orleans council delays vote to amend city alcohol rules

Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — (8/23/19) An outpouring of criticism prompted the New Orleans City Council to delay a vote Thursday on a proposal to substantially change alcohol rules that have remained largely unaltered for decades.

Opponents voiced their concerns at a meeting, The Times-Picayune/ The New Orleans Advocate reported . Many critics said they haven’t had time to review revisions introduced last fall.

“My strong suggestion is, please vote this ordinance down … (or) defer, so that we can have more meaningful discussion,” said Ike Spears, a political operative and attorney who spoke on behalf of the French Quarter Business League.

Some opponents took issue with a provision that would allow the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to suspend liquor licenses in an emergency. Situations constituting an emergency revocation have not yet been defined. The board would have to vet those rules, which would then have to be approved by the council.

“Very rarely do we have a room full of people, and nobody is in favor of what we are doing,” councilman Jason Williams said.

Other provisions include allowing hotels with multiple bars to obtain only one permit and granting permits to those with misdemeanor convictions or those who live outside the state.

The city has been working for years to amend rules for bars and other businesses that sell alcohol. Proposed changes to rules that haven’t been overhauled since the 1950s date back to Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration, the newspaper reported. An earlier provision that would’ve required cameras in all city bars was removed after heavy criticism.

City councilors who spoke in support of the proposal Thursday said it would give clear direction to responsible businesses and allow the city to take action against those who break the rules.

“This isn’t about targeting certain types of businesses or trying to change the culture of New Orleans,” councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer said.

The vote has been rescheduled for Sept. 19.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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