Cities in Wyoming are reworking their liquor laws after the legislature removed state-level restrictions during this year’s session.
Lawmakers rolled back rules that prohibited bars from being open during certain hours, and that required establishments to separate their bars and restaurants with a physical barrier. But it’s up to city governments whether to lift those rules locally or continue enforcing them.
Laramie’s city council approved a first reading of a new ordinance Tuesday. As it stands, the rules still require businesses to close down during the early hours of the morning, but allows minors to stay within the bar area until 8 p.m. Mayor Andrea Summerville said that the city’s large student population has made the decision more difficult.
“I certainly don’t want to see our officers having to issue more [Minor In Possession] tickets that could potentially damage college kids’ careers,” Summerville said. “But, we certainly want to let them have a good time while they’re here in college, and we want them to enjoy Laramie and everything we have to offer.”
Summerville also worried that since the 18-and-up provision would be difficult for police to enforce, it would push the burden onto establishments.
“It puts those owners in a precarious position because if they receive too many citations for serving a minor alcohol, or a couple of other violations that they can have around minors in their establishments, they could potentially put their liquor license at risk,” Summerville said.
Laramie’s council will hear public comments on May 16, and then take a final vote on the measure in June.
Summerville said that if people are interested in finding out how other communities are redrafting liquor laws, they should contact their city clerks or council members.