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Measures would allow more time to belly up to the bar

February 06, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

Measures would allow more time to belly up to the bar

ANNAPOLIS - Broader hours for serving alcohol and a pay increase for the Washington County Board of License Commissioners topped the list of proposed liquor legislation approved Friday by the county's delegation in the Maryland General Assembly.

Under a package of bills given their OK by the lawmakers, county restaurants would be able to serve drinks with a prepared meal on Sundays starting at 11 a.m. The current law restricts restaurants from serving alcohol on Sundays until noon.

That change was proposed by the Washington County Restaurant and Beverage Association, as was another proposal to expand Sunday hours to bars so they could stay open until 2 a.m. on Mondays that are federal holidays. Currently bars must close at midnight Monday, regardless if there is a holiday.

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"We're just looking for a little courtesy for our customers," said Lou Thomas, a member of the beverage association's board of directors.

One beverage association proposal the delegation did not approve was measure would have allowed a 15-minute grace period at bar closing. Liquor would have still been prohibited to be served after the regular the closing time, but the bar owners would have had 15 minutes to clear the building of customers.

"It just seems to me all we would be doing is pushing last call back 15 minutes," said Del. J. Anita Stup, R-Frederick/Washington.

The pay increase was one of three requests from the Board of License Commissioners, commonly known as the liquor board. The raise, approved unanimously by the delegation, would see the chairman's pay increase from $4,800 to $9,850 and the other two members' pay jump from $4,600 to $9,600.

"If we want good people to attract for (the liquor board), the amount of work they put into it has to be commensurate with their salary," said Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington.

The delegation also agreed to submit legislation permitting a special liquor license for golf courses. Another measure will allow the liquor board to impose penalties on establishments that receive probation before judgment or are placed on the inactive docket as the result of a criminal action in the county court.

All of the delegation's decisions must be approved by the full legislature.

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