Bill To Regulate BYOA Establishments In Frederick County Voted Down By Legislative Delegation

But the measure will go forward as it’s been formally introduced into the Md. General Assembly.





Annapolis, Md (IM) Legislation that would impose some new regulations on bring-your-own-alcohol establishments in Frederick County  was turned down last week by the  Legislative Delegation. The vote was 8-to-4 with one abstention.

If passed, the legislation would cover establishments which don’t serve alcohol, but allow patrons to bring their own booze inside for personal consumption. They would not be able to serve alcohol or allow booze to be consumed by customers from the establishments’ own supplies. There are also prohibitions against nudity or sexual displays at these establishments. Violators could be subject to 90-days incarceration,  or a fine of $100,  or both.

The bill also covers a business which has not been issued a license by the County Liquor Board, but is subject to other licenses; and allows  customers to bring their own alcoholic beverages for personal consumption. These establishments may not allow a customer  to consume alcohol from midnight to 10:00 AM each day.  They can limit the amount or type of alcoholic beverages on their premises, and require at least one employee on the premises to be trained in an alcohol awareness program. These businesses may not allow a patron to leave  the establishment with an open alcohol container, and may not allow the patron to disturb the peace, safety  and welfare of the community. Violators could be jailed for up to 90 days, be fined $500 or both.

This bill would only cover Frederick County.

State Senator Karen Lewis Young says there have been problems with patrons at these establishments who have had too much to drink. “These kind of establishments are totally unregulated now,” she says. . “What   this bill attempts to do is give law enforcement some capability for enforcement.”

Delegate Chair Jesse Pippy says it would adversely impact all businesses in Frederick County. “It’s puts new regulations and new liability on every single business in Frederick County, “he says. “Not just the city of Frederick, which we love. But it puts it on all of the municipalities, all of the other businesses, all throughout the county.”

Dawn Shughars, the Director of the Frederick County Liquor Board, says this legislation came from requests by Frederick City officials for more enforcement power. “What they needed was some tools and some resources that were manageable,” she says. “They feel like by expanding it to a 90-day, $500 citation, it would gain the attention of those that are offending.”

Sate Senator Bill Folden voted against forwarding this legislation, saying it would be too burdensome on local businesses. “To basically hold other businesses liable for someone else’s action is not a good message from us,” he says.

Delegate Kris Fair said there have been problems at these BYOA establishments, and not just in Frederick city. “We’re trying to thread a very , very tight needle here for an issue that is not just city-based. It’s actually county-based. There is issues throughout the county,'” he said.

In other comments, Delegate Pippy said there are already laws on the books to control the behaviors of some patrons of BYOA establishments. “The City of Frederick Police Department has not enforced existing laws on the books as it pertains to this issue,”  he said. “I’m not sure if adding a new law on the books putting it on every business owner in the county is going to solve every issue they’re’ trying to solve.”

“They mentioned that the two-year, $10,000 fine {the current penalties}–not even $1,000, but $10,000.–no one was enforcing it because a judge would never uphold that,” Shugars responded.

Despite this vole, Senator Lewis Young said she has formally introduced the bill into the State Senate.



By Kevin McManus