No decision, but discussion over restricting alcohol sales - WDRB 41 Louisville News

No decision, but discussion over restricting alcohol sales

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A controversial plan to ban package liquor sales from 2 to 4 a.m. is no closer to becoming law after a lengthy discussion Tuesday during the Metro Council's public safety committee meeting.

The proposed ordinance would ban the sale of liquor in Louisville between the hours of 2 to 4 a.m. The impetus for the idea came from Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, who argues there is a direct correlation between an increase in crime and sales during that time period.

But other council members have raised concerns, saying more data should be reviewed, that enforcement could be difficult and that such a ban would still allow the sale of beer. The committee heard from several speakers Tuesday, including a representative from the Kentucky Distillers Association who argued that the language in the ordinance needs to be changed to limit all alcohol sales.

"If your intent is stop the sale of alcohol during certain hours ... please treat all alcohol fairly," said Kristen Meador with the KDA.

David Bridgers, vice president and general counsel for Thorntons told council members including beer sales in the ban would unfairly target its 36 area stores.

"It seems unreasonable that problems in a few locations of retail sales of liquor should change the rules for retailers who obey the laws of our community," Bridgers said.

When asked if this is problem is specific to her district, why make it a city-wide law, Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton said: "Because it's not just my district. There are 13 districts that don't sell past midnight, so they don't see the problem -- they don't have the problem."

Hamilton concedes she is willing to ban the sale of both beer and liquor if the end result is a reduction in crime. The committee took no vote Tuesday.

But during the discussion, concerns were raised about how the new law, if passed, would be enforced. And council members appeared upset after it was revealed the city only fines non-compliant offenders and does not revoke liquor licenses.

"They are saying that ... they can't revoke their license. Well something is wrong with that," Cheri Bryant Hamilton said.

Some audience members in the chamber were upset they did not get a chance to speak. There's talk of hosting a town hall discussion in the Shawnee neighborhood next week.

The committee will address the issue again in two weeks.

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