Guam – A legislative hearing will be held Friday afternoon on a bill that would lift the current restrictions on the number of liquor licenses that can be issued in each island municipality.
Former Senator Larry Kasperbauer has come out against the measure saying current law is widely violated and should be enforced. But the bill’s sponsor Senator Michael San Nicolas says his aim is to preserve businesses and jobs.
Current Guam law sets a limit on the number of liquor licenses that can be issued in any particular island community, it allows the issuance of just one liquor license for every 200 people in that municipality.
But former Senator Kasperbauer blames Rev & Tax’s Alcohol and Beverage Control [ABC] board for failing to enforce the law, resulting in a glut of bars and stores that have been issued liquor licenses, far in excess of the current limit. Kasperbauer is also a member of the Alupang Cove Condominium board which has filed a complaint with the ABC Board over its failure to enforce current liquor license limits.
Kasperbauer is a strong opponent of a measure introduced by Senator Michael San Nicolas. Bill #88 would lift the restriction on the number of liquor licenses that could be issued in each community.
The Senator told PNC News that “the liquor ratio law has been on the books for decades and has been overlooked for decades. It has only recently come to the fore. Since the lack of the ratio has been the defacto situation in everyone’s mind for decades, removing the ratio would not change anything, it would simply maintain the status quo.”
However Kasperbauer response is that the staus quo is the problem, too many bars and stores dispensing liquor promote irresponsible behavior and criminal conduct, he argues.
But Senator San Nicolas says the issue from his viewpoint is jobs saying “Bill #88 is trying to save dozens of businesses and hundreds of jobs.”
If the existing law were to be enforced, the Senator says “no new licenses could be issued for Tamuning and Hagatna.” And he is also concerned about what will happen in June when liquor licenses are renewed. If the existing law is enforced he says that two-thirds of the establishments in Hagatna “may not have their licenses renewed. 41 establishments may not have their licenses renewed in Tamuning. “