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Local reaction to liquor rule change mixed

first_imgTestimony was mixed on Tuesday during a Washington State Liquor Control Board hearing about whether businesses should be allowed to sell alcohol after 2 a.m., an idea the board is considering at the request of the city of Seattle.Several speakers at the Vancouver City Hall hearing said they were concerned about increased drunk driving, and said that more impaired drivers on the road could stretch rural police forces too thin. But some supported the rule change, saying it would boost local economies and that each city should get to choose whether to extend te 2 a.m. cutoff. About 30 people showed up to the hearing and seven people testified to the board.State law bans the selling of alcohol between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., but the liquor control board is considering a Seattle petition that would allow individual cities to extend the hours that some businesses, such as bars and nightclubs, are allowed to serve alcohol. Seattle officials have discussed the possibility of allowing people to purchase alcohol 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in their city. Any city could ask the Liquor Control Board for an exemption from the 2 a.m. sales cutoff.Insufficient staffingIf the rule changed and Vancouver requested such an exemption, people from communities outside of Vancouver could drive into the city, drink into the early morning hours and then drive back home, Battle Ground Police Chief Bob Richardson said during his public testimony. Richardson said his department is not staffed to handle more drunken drivers on the roads past the current bar closing time.Likewise, he said many other cities across the state would have the same problem. “Most of the (police) agencies in the state are small,” Richardson said.last_img read more

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