Proposed changes to alcohol sales will go before another vote

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The back and forth over changes to East Baton Rouge Parish liquor laws will continue for a couple more weeks.

Bars in downtown Baton Rouge will not open on Sundays as some were hoping and alcohol will still not be sold before 11 a.m., yet.

After some strong opposition to an amendment before the Metro Council, it did not receive enough votes to pass and then members decided to push back the discussion on the original proposal to the next meeting.

Councilwoman Allison Gary, the author of the amendment, will introduce her proposal again in two weeks.

During that same meeting, the issue of keeping bars open until 4 a.m. for three days a week will go before the full council for a vote.

The amendment to the original proposal read retailers could sell alcohol beginning at 6 a.m. and bars could open at 11 a.m. on Sundays instead of 6 a.m., but opponents, statistics and six council members struck down the ideas.

"East Baton Rouge Parish leads the state in the number of DWI arrests each year," said Police Chief Dewayne White.

"I see the other side of the oversaturation of alcohol and excess of alcohol and the negative impact it has on the communities," added Councilwoman Tara Wicker.

However, those in favor of the idea said it should be up to the individual when to buy alcohol, not the government.

"I don't see what the big deal is," said one Baton Rouge resident. "It's the same as every other day of the week. All we're asking is for you to be consistent in your laws."

"We've got licenses to sell this product," said one bar owner. "I don't know why we, as bar or restaurant owners, should be penalized and not be able to open on Sundays."

Gary said people will go across parish lines to purchase alcohol, meaning lost revenues for East Baton Rouge.

The city's top cop was pleased with the initial failure of the proposal.

"I'm very happy with the outcome. I think it's a victory for public safety," said White.

"If it means we have to tweak some hours here or there in order to get it passed, I'm open to that," Gary explained.

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