Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced on Monday that he’s calling a special legislative session to begin Wednesday. He plans to tackle a number of issues that include education funding and the shortage of liquor licenses available in the state.
Democratic Guberatorial Candidate Peter Cooke criticized Herbert recently for what he calls a lack of leadership on the issues facing the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Ally Isom is the spokeswoman for Governor Herbert. She says the lack of liquor licenses is a pressing economic development issue that the governor felt needed to be addressed.
“There are a number of large restaurants that are trying to locate in Utah and the liquor license issue is a significant obstacle for them,” said Isom.
Cooke also complained that the Governor has yet to name a permanent replacement to head the DABC since Dennis Kellen stepped down nearly 10 months ago for allegedly violating state law. Isom says the governor wants to take the time to choose the right executive.
“The process is that the names actually come from the commission to begin with. And those names have now been vetted with the commission and the governor is actually conducting So this isn’t a matter of leadership and engagement. This is a matter of doing it right,” said Isom.
Isom says legislative leaders say they have the votes to increase the number of liquor licenses. Lawmakers will also work to fill a 25 million gap in the education budget that was discovered due to a clerical error back in April. That money will be pulled from the state’s general fund.