The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

October 23, 2013

Wristbands rejected

CLINTON — A group of Clinton bar owners won’t have to worry about outfitting all drinking age patrons younger than 30 with colorful wristbands after the Clinton City Council voted down a resolution that mandated customers wear the accessory at all times.

During their Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday, council members voted 6-1 against the changes proposed by the Gateway ImpACT Coalition’ s marijuana and underage drinking group that would have required the 14 bars in Clinton that allow patrons younger than 21 to issue wristbands to people between the ages of 21 and 30.

Ward 1 Councilwoman Maggie Klaes cast the lone vote in favor of the program.

Before voting, three bar owners and a bartender told council members they did not believe the wristbands would effectively deter underage drinking in the bars that have a younger than 21 exemption.

“I don’t know if we have a lot of problems with (underage drinking) around town, but if we do, I think those bars should be addressed and not everybody,” Silver Dollar Saloon owner Shelly Brewer said.

Of the 14 establishments that welcome people younger than 21, two sold alcohol to a minor in a compliance check performed by the Clinton Police Department.

Just Friends owner David Just warned against the council implementing the wristband rule because of how it would affect business owners who already face a myriad of fees.

“It’s more expense for everyone. Lord knows there’s enough expense on bars now. Let alone smoking laws killed us, sewer bills are killing us, sales, tax, permits, licenses. We don’t need another expense,” Just said.

MUD representative Dana Hall told council members she spoke with nearly a dozen bar owners the wristband rule would apply to, all of whom had different opinions about the wristbands’ worth, effectiveness and enforcement.

The various responses supported previous discussions that suggested the use of wristbands should be at the discretion of bar owners, At-large Councilman John Rowland said.

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