Talk:Utah legalizes homebrewing

Latest comment: 15 years ago by Runningonbrains in topic Category:Connecticut

Original reporting


E-mail from Rep. Kraig Powell forwarded to scoop. Douglas Wawrzynski has promised exclusive comment; I'm waiting for that to come in. --Killing Vector (talk) 10:09, 27 March 2009 (UTC)Reply

Exclusive reply from Douglas Wawrzynski is at: [1] [2] --Killing Vector (talk) 17:13, 27 March 2009 (UTC)Reply

Comment e-mail from Rep. Rita Menlove forwarded to scoop. --Killing Vector (talk) 13:09, 28 March 2009 (UTC)Reply

I can confirm all these emails have been forwarded to scoop and appear from credible source email addresses. Not checked the other cited sources or I'd pass review. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:25, 28 March 2009 (UTC)Reply

Complete text of comments


Douglas Wawrzynski


I moved to Utah from Connecticut in 2005 and started into the hobby shortly thereafter. There are multiple homebrew shops that have been operating legally in Utah for several years, so it wasn't until after I started law school in the fall of 2007 that someone suggested to me that the hobby might not be legal in Utah. After having done some research and contacting the American Homebrewers Association, I began to understand the current ambiguity of the law and how it could certainly be interpreted to adversely effect homebrewers. In fact in 2005 the city of South Salt Lake had taken steps to affirmatively enact penalties for engaging in homebrewing. While that effort was ultimately abandoned it illustrated just how the current state of the law could have a negative impact on homebrewers. It was then that I chose to contact my local Utah House Representative, Christine Johnson. I wrote her a letter explaining who I was and my suggestion for a change in the law. I accompanied my letter with a memo that discussed the history of homebrewing, what it entails, and various policy arguments for why homebrewing could be legalized in a state that is skeptical of change to existing restrictive liquor laws (if you would like I can make that document available to you). This was in 2008, in the middle of the legislative session for that year. Rep. Johnson chose to sponsor the bill and it experienced great success but expired before receiving a Senate vote when the session ended. This year Rep. Johnson got the process moving much earlier and made sure we had plenty of time to get the bill through. While there was plenty of skepticism throughout the legislative process about the effort to pass a bill that would grant an affirmative right to practice the art and craft of homebrewing in Utah, I found that ultimately that skepticism was overcome. In each of the several committee meetings this bill went through, the bill was met with challenging and sometimes bizarre questions regarding its impact and what this would enable people to do. One Senator, Senator Lilenquist even inquired if this bill would make it legal for someone to put beer in a baby bottle and give it to a one year old. However through the efforts, emails and testimony of people like Representative Johnson and Gary Glass, and most importantly, from Utah homebrewers themselves, we changed minds through education. In fact, the Chairman of the Senate Business and Labor Committee, Senator Valentine openly admitted on the record that he had been compelled to change his vote to a favorable one after hearing compelling testimony from member of the Utah community. In short I think that many of the attitudes and perceptions about drinking and homebrewing in particular have been shaped by a dominant and relatively homogeneous subculture, that never had never before had an opportunity to learn form fellow responsible community members what responsible alcohol consumption really means. I think that as the state of Utah continues to grow in diversity, the community will become enriched with a wide array of backgrounds and opinions. As this happens we will have an opportunity to develop a greater understanding of our own neighbors and how differences in lifestyle can ultimately be respected and embraced.

Ronda Rudd Menlove


Dear Edmund, When the vote was taken on HB 51, I had a constituent sitting by me, a young high school student. I briefly explained the bill to him during the debate and then asked him how he would vote on the bill and why. This is what he told me. He said that he was concerned that young people would have greater access to alcohol because alcohol would be brewed in homes resulting in great accessibility for youth living in those homes. This concerned him greatly as a member of a local youth city council as well. He is concerned about the amount of under-age drinking in his community and believed that greater access to alcohol could cause an increase in under-age drinking in Utah.

I appreciated this insightful feedback and realized that what he was saying was accurate. That is the primary reason that I voted against the bill.

My secondary reason for voting against the bill is that I am adamantly opposed to the excess use and abuse of alcohol. I am opposed to any use of alcohol by pregnant mothers. As a secondary level teacher and high school administrator, I worked with troubled youth and special education populations. I have struggled with young people who live with the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. If you want to be very depressed, read about the lifelong effects of FAS. This syndrome affects learning and behavior that is often erratic and unpredictable. Most of the students with FAS fail miserably in school and find little success in school, jobs, or life. This is a very serious problem related to alcohol use and one that affects the innocent fetus and not the perpetrator of this action.

Utah has quirky alcohol laws. The overarching goal of preventing under-age drinking and the abuse of alcohol has created these laws. The intention is admirable and one that I support. How to achieve these goals is challenging and has resulted in laws that may seem strange to others living outside of Utah. Utah's Governor and Legislature has struggled with this and recently passed legislation revamping these laws. I voted against those changes due to the fact that little information was provided about the impact of the changes.

Thanks for your interest and your message.

Thank you, Rep. Ronda Rudd Menlove District #1 Utah House of Representatives

Kraig Powell


Dear Mr. Schluessel:

I am sorry that I do not have anything profound or quotable to say about my vote on this bill. The only reason I ultimately voted no is because, between the time of the first House vote and the final vote on the conference committee report, I had a constituent contact me at one of my Town Hall meetings who was concerned about increased access to alcohol and drunk driving dangers from the bill. Since this constituent was the only one who had recently shared specific thoughts with me about this legislation, I voted no as a courtesy to her.

Thank you and good luck.


Rep. Kraig Powell





This category does not seem particularly is only mentioned as the home state of one of the parties involved. -Runningonbrains (talk) 03:44, 29 May 2009 (UTC)Reply

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