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City of Decorah officials want more local control over liquor licenses

Posted: Thu, Nov 9, 2017 4:20 PM

Decorah City Clerk Wanda Hemesath says it's sometimes frustrating the lack of authority a city in Iowa has over whether a liquor license gets renewed.

Hemesath testified earlier this week to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Commission at their meeting at the Hotel Winneshiek.  She told the commissioners one Decorah business in the past had its liquor license renewed—despite an assault happening inside the tavern.

She would like to see local officials have more influence over whether a liquor license is granted (the State of Iowa has the greatest role in this process).  Hemesath told the Commission local officials sometimes know more about whether a liquor license operator has the "good moral character" necessary to meet state regulations about getting a liquor license.

When there are issues at a place which has a liquor license, the license holder is sometimes fined or penalized.  Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Commission members agreed that they need to study whether the existing penalties do enough to discourage future problems.