Governor Gary Herbert heard the final pleas from the Utah Office of Tourism, The Utah Hotel Association, and the Utah Hospitality Association about the harm the new liquor law, which puts Utah’s legal drinking limit of blood alcohol content at .05 from the national standard of .08, could inflict on Utah. All of these associations agree that the negative repercussions the new limit will have on tarnishing Utah’s image for potential tourists and visitors will cause a huge loss to Utah’s hospitality industry and overall economy.
Still, Governor Herbert sided with the Utah Legislature and signed HB 155, which could reverse a lot of the good will and image improvement former Governor John Huntsman Jr. did in upgrading Utah’s theocratic, anti-drinking reputation. Utah Stories wrote a letter to the State Legislature, informing them that bars actually do far more good for communities than harm. But they didn’t listen.
Idaho is running an ad campaign designed to persuade potential visitors to Utah to instead stay in Idaho or visit other states. The Salt Lake Tribune Reports that, “A national restaurant association warned in a full-page Idaho Statesman newspaper ad on Tuesday that if Idahoans go to Utah on vacation, they may return on probation because of its new toughest-in-the-nation drunken driving law.
“I will tell you this is just the beginning of our campaign” to attack the law—which does not take effect for 20 months until Dec. 30, 2018—and seek its repeal at a special session of the Legislature expected in late summer, said Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute.
“She said the group’s new ad campaign started in Idaho, which sends the second-most tourists to Utah among the states, but will spread soon to others.”
Nice work Salt Lake Tribune Reporter Lee Davidson. Read the article in its entirety, here