AUSTIN EDITION Proposed liquor law carries new penalties for violators

By Roxana Orellana

The Austin Beverage Association and city council members have hammered out a new liquor ordinance that includes new penalties.

With the recommended ordinance, violations would stay on a license-holder's record for two years.

The first draft of the ordinance said a liquor license could be revoked after four violations within five years. License-holders said that was too harsh and instead proposed an 18-month period. A two-year review period was reached in negotiations.


Bar owners and other license-holders will be checked for serving minors and serving those who have had too much to drink as well as serving customers who start assaults or urinate in public.

Michele Morehouse of the Hiawatha Bar asked that merchants be cited on the spot during a compliance check, meaning license-holders would not need to track back to determine the employee who violated the ordinance.

Police Chief Paul Philipp said he did not want to issue immediate citations because that would identify the volunteer doing the compliance checks and he feared merchants would get on the phone after a check and call others to warn them.

Under the proposed ordinance, a first violation would carry a fine of $500. A second violation would carry a $750 fine, plus a suspension for three business days. The third violation calls for a $1,000 fine and a seven-day suspension. A license could be revoked after four violations in two years.

The city council will vote on the proposed ordinance Sept. 15.

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