Sunday, May 23, 2010

Prince George’s County Alcoholic Beverages – Entertainment Permit House Bill 558

The Prince George’s County House Delegation submitted House Bill 558, Alcoholic Beverages – Entertainment Permit (Prince George’s County only), as a tool to curb abuses at establishments that now have a Class B liquor license and sponsor entertainment, dancing and/or a cover charge at their location.  Frequently, these types of arrangements are inadequately designed and managed, with no security plans or flawed plans in consideration of the crowd.  At times, this leads to violence inside the location, on the parking lots, on the streets and in the surrounding communities.

This Bill was drafted in order to allow the Police Department and the Board of License Commissioners the ability to help prevent events from being held by establishments which failed to plan and prepare.  This Bill also gives the Police Department and the Board of License Commissioners, tools to use to close locations (temporally or permanently) which fail to adhere to the law, are a nuisance, and are unsafe.

 The Bill will require/provide:

•    Class B Liquor License holders the opportunity to apply for a Special Entertainment Permit to allow their location to have dancing, a cover charge and/or entertainment.
•     All permits require a public hearing and approval by the Board of License Commissioners.
•    The applicant must submit a security plan to the Police Department and the Board of License Commissioners.  This plan requires an evaluation of the location regarding risks to both the inside and the outside (community) of the locations.  If the plan is inadequate and not corrected, a permit will not be issued.
•    Gives the Police Department and the Board of License Commissioners, the authority to close locations for unsafe or emergency conditions and/or failing to adhere to the security plan (Court issues restraining order).
•    Provides fines and revocation of the permit for 2 or more violations in 24 months.
•    No cover charge without a permit.
•    No dancing without a permit.
•    No entertainment without a permit.
•    Off duty police officers employed at the location as security must have jurisdiction to make an arrest.
•    Provides for a judicial review of a temporary or permanent closure of any location.
•    Requires the Board of License Commissioners to submit summary reports on this Bill’s effectiveness to the Prince George’s House and Senate Delegations.

This Bill will help the Police Department and the Board of License Commissioners in handling locations that are a nuisance and dangerous to the community, patrons, and employees.
All Pictures Courtesy of the Prince George's County Police Department

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