Uncategorized | 3:34 pm | March 5, 2011 | By Alon Harish

Bill advocates law enforcement involvement in liquor permitting

New Haven police may soon be getting a say in liquor permitting for the city’s bars and nightclubs.

Under current law, the police can only sign off on temporary liquor permits, such as those for private events. But under a bill sponsored by State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, who represents New Haven, local law enforcement would be able to weigh in on renewals of existing permits.

Looney joined Mayor John DeStefano Jr. at a press conference on Temple Street Friday to support the legislation, which he said would give the city greater authority to crack down on “problem permittees.”

Current law does not let the city take into account “past behavior” when considering whether to grant an establishment renewal of a liquor permit, DeStefano said. The city is only allowed to judge an application for renewal based on criteria such as building code requirements.

Looney’s bill would allow an applicant’s past history to be considered by bringing law enforcement into the process of deciding whether to approve a permit, DeStefano said.

“Allowing the NHPD to officially identify problem bars and clubs will improve the quality of life and the public’s safety,” DeStefano said.

The bill was approved by the joint General Laws Committee of the General Assembly, and is now pending before the entire state legislature.

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