Frustrated by the slow pace of reform to Utah’s tourist-annoying liquor laws, the Utah Hospitality Association is taking the initiative. UHA, a group of local bar owners, is proposing clubs be allowed to issue clubgoers reciprocal memberships good at any bar in the state. Initially, as a demonstration, the special cards would go to club employees only. It’s an ingenious way to ease Utah out of the anachronistic but seemingly intractable notion that there are no bars in Utah, only “private clubs.” Tourism officials have repeatedly been promised liquor reform, only to have their hopes dashed. Hopefully, state liquor regulators will pounce on the reciprocal-membership idea as a solution. If not, the Hospitality Association may force the issue, issue multi-club cards, and see how the state reacts.
Surprise! Mine bosses don’t want Utah to re-open a state mine-safety inspection office following coal mine cave-ins that claimed nine lives. Coal bosses testifying before a commission that will recommend mine-safety fixes to Utah’s Legislature said a state mine inspection-program would only duplicate efforts of federal inspectors and waste tax money. Utah closed its mine-inspection program in the 1980s. And the Crandall Canyon mine disasters have made clear that the feds alone aren’t up to the job. As the head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said at a recent Crandall hearing, federal inspectors can be at a mine just 5 percent of the time. If Utah miners are to be safe, it will be up to the Utah.
The Sandy-based Major League Soccer franchise named Real Salt Lake is ready to show some love to its namesake city. According to former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, Real has offered $15 million—on top of $7.5 million already pledged—to complete a complex of soccer fields and baseball diamonds in the capital city. That’s a long way from last year, when it appeared Real was backing away from pledges to help fund the sports complex—pledges made when the team was seeking a stadium subsidy. On top of the money, Real would build a soccer academy in Salt Lake City, Anderson wrote. Nice gestures to the city that lost out on the soccer stadium, even if Real still wants the complex’s concession sales and naming rights.