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Committee Puts A Hold On Zion Curtain Bill

Brian Grimmett
File: State Senator Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake

Members of the Utah Senate Business and Labor Committee voted Tuesday to put several alcohol related bills on hold, including one that would remove the so-called “Zion Curtain” from restaurants.

The Zion Curtain is a barrier or wall required in many Utah restaurants that visually conceals the mixing of cocktails. Democratic Senator Jim Dabakis says they’re useless and that they harm Utah businesses. His bill, SB141, would remove them, but members of the business and labor committee chose not to vote on his bill, instead, recommending that the issue be studied during the interim so they can gather more data. But Dabakis says the idea of needing data works two ways.

“Where was the data when we put that dumb wall in there? I don’t even know how you’d come up with that data," Dabakis says. "How many hundred thousand dollars we going to do to put a study in to see that a Zion Curtain is ridiculous.”

Dabakis’ legislation and two other bills related to the regulation of alcohol were also put on hold to be reconsidered during the interim. But their sponsor, Democratic Senator Karen Mayne, felt very differently about the decision than Dabakis.

“In interim, I have control of the conversation," Mayne says. "I can bring those supporters, and I think we can really have some change.”

While Dabakis’ bill is done for the session, Republican Rep. Kraig Powell is running a different bill that also addresses the requirement that restaurants have a separate and hidden alcohol preparation area. It is currently waiting an assignment to a committee. 

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