Liquor license law could change

Carson City could change how it disciplines liquor license holders who break the law.

Businesses now go straight to the liquor board, made of supervisors and the sheriff, if they are cited for selling alcohol to minors two or three times within six months.

Under the proposal, businesses instead would go to a sheriff's department hearing officer to see if they will be fined or have their liquor license suspended or revoked.

They could appeal their punishment to the liquor board.

Supervisors, the sheriff's department and the district attorney's office are looking at the proposal.

This would take some pressure off the liquor board, said Sheriff Kenny Furlong. The board has held two hearings in the past year for businesses that have received three citations in less than six months.

"We're trying to make the process better," Furlong said. "That's what we're going to do."

The proposal will be developed with the help of public hearings, he said.

The city passed a law last year that punishes liquor license holders, not just the sellers, for selling alcohol to minors.

Penalties range from a $100 fine for the first citation to as much as a $1,500 fine and loss of the license for the third citation.

Joel Benton, senior deputy district attorney, said idea for changes is in the "preliminary stages."

"It wouldn't have the board listening all the whys and hows," he said.

Mayor Bob Crowell said the liquor board is doing nothing wrong now, but it could be better at handling appeals.

"It might make it smoother for people and easier to understand," he said.

Furlong said other proposed changes to the liquor license law include different penalties and making a list of things that disqualify someone from getting a license.

The city has no guidelines to disqualify someone from applying for a liquor license now, he said.

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