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For immediate release Wednesday, April 1, 2009.
Contact Bill Roach 515-281-5536.

A.G. Tom Miller:   Bars Risk Liquor Licenses
if they Violate Smokefree Air Act

Des Moines County leads state with five liquor license actions, followed by Wapello, Appanoose, and Hamilton counties

Des Moines. Attorney General Tom Miller has filed eight new liquor license revocation complaints against Iowa bars for violating Iowa’s Smokefree Air Act. The new complaints bring to 38 the number of liquor license enforcement actions brought by the Attorney General’s Office since the law took effect.

The eight liquor license actions filed since March 23 include four against bars in Burlington -- the Beer Tent, the Crazy Coyote, the Paddlewheel Lounge, and Summer Street Station. Other bars charged last week include Larry Bob’s Oasis in Davenport, My Sister’s Place in Carlisle, Packers Inn in Waterloo, and Pit Row Sports Bar & Grill in Eddyville.

“Liquor license holders are obligated to obey all Iowa laws as a condition of their privilege to hold a license,” Miller said. “We are determined to enforce this new law -- because it is the law, and because it saves lives. The huge majority of Iowa businesses are obeying the law, and we will not allow a small, vocal minority to flout the law,” he said.

Miller praised Iowa businesses for having overwhelmingly complied with the new law. He said that of over 82,000 businesses in the state, the State Department of Public Health has received complaints against only 917 -- about 1%. And Miller noted that some of those complaints had to do with technical issues associated with the startup of the new law, such as placement of signs.


Smokefree Air Act actions against liquor licenses:

“Actions against liquor licenses are one of our most effective enforcement tools,” Miller said. “The principle is simple: Holders of liquor licenses are obligated to follow Iowa law, all Iowa law. If they break the law, their licenses may be suspended or revoked.”

The Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of the Department of Public Safety, has filed 38 administrative hearing complaints with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) since the law took effect, seeking to suspend the liquor licenses of businesses for violating the Smokefree Air Act.

One of the cases was resolved recently through a negotiated settlement agreement. “The Keg” in Ottumwa agreed to serve a seven-day suspension of its liquor license and pay a civil penalty of $1,000. The suspension is scheduled to begin May 13.

Other cases are in various stages of adjudication. Following hearings, an Administrative Law Judge issued a proposed ruling that suspends the liquor license of Fro’s Pub & Grub in Wilton for 21 days, and another that suspends the liquor license of Otis Campbell’s Bar & Grill in West Burlington for no less than 30 days. Those decisions have been appealed to the ABD. The Attorney General’s Office and the ABD continue to work toward settlement of the remaining cases with terms that will guarantee compliance with the law.

“My office will continue to use all the enforcement tools available to us, including both civil penalties and actions against liquor licenses,” Miller said. “In addition to the liquor license cases, we have sought civil penalties for 11 violations of the law,” he said.

“We will continue working with local law enforcement officials around the state to give them the tools to make this law a success,” Miller said. “The law is working, and we will continue to play our part in enforcement in order to ensure Iowa’s laws are obeyed, and to protect the health of every Iowan.”

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Summary of Smokefree Air Act actions related to liquor licenses:

Go to Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) website for detailed information on Iowa’s Smokefree Air Act, including status of enforcement actions and links to documents – http://www.iowaabd.com/smokefree/ .

 

Des Moines

5

Franklin

1

Wapello

4

Howard

1

Appanoose

3

Mahaska

1

Hamilton

3

Monroe

1

Black Hawk

2

Pottawattamie

1

Muscatine

2

Poweshiek

1

Polk

2

Scott

1

Allamakee

1

Woodbury

1

Benton

1

Warren

1

Calhoun

1

Winneshiek

1

Cerro Gordo

1

 

 

Clinton

1

Total

38

Dickinson

1

 

 

Dubuque

1

 

 

 

Status of Smokefree Liquor License Actions Filed:

April 1, 2009

County:

Business / City:

Current Status:

Allamakee County

WATERVILLE BAR & GRILL; Waterville.

Pending potential settlement.

Appanoose County

ALIBI; Centerville.

Pending potential settlement.

 

GORDIE'S BAR & GRILL; Centerville.

Awaiting decision of Administrative Law Judge following hearing.

 

T. MCGILL'S; Moulton.

Pending potential settlement.

Benton County

ANGLE INN; Walford.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Black Hawk County

EDO'S SPORTS BAR; Waterloo.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

 

PACKERS INN; Waterloo.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Calhoun County

KC'S HALFTIME LOUNGE; Manson.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Cerro Gordo County

THE MARINA; Clear Lake.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Clinton County

MANNING'S WHISTLE SHOP; Clinton.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Des Moines County

BEER TENT; Burlington.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

 

THE CRAZY COYOTE; Burlington.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

 

PADDLEWHEEL LOUNGE; Burlington.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

 

SUMMER STREET STATION; Burlington.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

 

OTIS CAMPBELL'S; West Burlington.

Pending final decision by Alcoholic Beverages Division.

Dickinson County

THE SCOREBOARD LOUNGE; Milford.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Dubuque County

A & B TAP; Dubuque.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Franklin County

PIT ROW PUB; Hampton.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Hamilton County

THE BOW LOUNGE; Webster City.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

 

C & C'S AMERICAN TAP; Webster City.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

 

TEEGEE'S BAR & GRILL; Webster City.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Howard County

M & M LOUNGE; Cresco.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Mahaska County

T & B CLUBHOUSE; Oskaloosa.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Monroe County

PIT ROW SPORTS BAR & GRILL; Eddyville.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Muscatine County

FRO's; Wilton.

Pending final decision by Alcoholic Beverage Division.

 

TAILGATERS; Muscatine.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Polk County

JOESEPPE'S; Des Moines.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

 

OUTER LIMITS; Des Moines.

Pending decision of Administrative Law Judge following hearing.

Pottawattamie County

JACK DADDY'S BAR & GRILL; Council Bluffs.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Poweshiek County

JOHN & GARY'S GAMETIME; Grinnell.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Scott County

LARRY BOB'S OASIS; Davenport.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Woodbury County

DALTONS PUB; Sioux City.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Wapello County

THE KEG; Ottumwa.

Settled with agreement to pay $1,000 and will serve seven-day suspension beginning May 13th.

 

SMOKIN JO'S; Ottumwa.

Awaiting Administrative Law Judge decision following hearing.

 

VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS No. 775; Ottumwa.

Awaiting Administrative Law Judge decision following hearing.

 

VINE STREET NUGGET; Ottumwa.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Warren County

MY SISTER'S PLACE; Carlisle.

Pending hearing before Administrative Law Judge.

Winneshiek County

WOODYS BAR & GRILL; Ft. Atkinson.

Awaiting Administrative Law Judge decision following hearing.


ABD / Smokefree Air Act Enforcement Process:

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) dockets complaints received from the public, governmental inspectors, or law enforcement personnel. In response to all verified complaints, IDPH communicates a notice of potential violation to the violating business in an effort to educate the business as to its responsibilities and duties under the Smokefree Air Act, and to achieve voluntary compliance with the Act.

If it becomes apparent that such educational efforts are ineffective in bringing a liquor licensee into compliance with the Smokefree Air Act, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, files a hearing complaint with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) against the violating licensee.

Once filed, the hearing complaint is set for an evidentiary hearing in Ankeny, Iowa, before an administrative law judge. Following hearing, the administrative law judge will issue a proposed decision adjudicating whether a violation of the Smokefree Air Act has occurred and, if so, imposing an appropriate sanction (typically a 21-day to 30-day license suspension). Further review of the administrative law judge’s proposed decision may be sought by any party from the Administrator of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. The Administrator will then issue a final decision on behalf of the ABD. Judicial review of the ABD Administrator’s final decision may be sought in the Iowa District Court.

A hearing complaint also may be resolved through an informal settlement agreement. In such circumstances, the liquor licensee and the prosecuting Assistant Attorney General negotiate a stipulated penalty for the alleged violation (typically a $1,000 civil penalty coupled with a seven-day license suspension). If the stipulated settlement is approved by the ABD Administrator, an order will be entered implementing the terms of the settlement agreement, and no further action or hearing is necessary.

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