Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Regulating freedom, and passing the blame, one law at a time

Should the retailer of alcoholic beverages be held responsible if the consumer becomes "intoxicated"? Perhaps your local variety store owner should be charged because he sold you "too many" potato chips containing trans fats? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may want to consider relocating to New Mexico:

Bar owners are upset about proposed changes in state liquor regulations that could make it easier to fine them or revoke their licenses.

Opponents at a hearing on the proposals Thursday were especially concerned about the impact to their business if someone is found with a high percentage of alcohol in their blood after leaving their establishment.

Under the proposal, an alcohol level of 0.14 percent or higher within two hours of the sale, service or consumption of alcohol will be considered evidence that the person was intoxicated at the time of the sale -- subjecting the business to a violation for selling to intoxicated people. The current regulation limits the time frame to an hour.

[..] The state Alcohol and Gaming Division also proposes to reduce the number of violations required for the state to revoke a liquor license. Currently, a business can lose its liquor license after five violations within 12 months involving sales to minors or intoxicated persons.

The state wants to be able to revoke a license after four violations for selling to minors and after two violations of selling to intoxicated persons. In both cases, fines would be doubled to $10,000.
HT: Nobody's Business