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UPDATE: Liquor Commission votes to roll back rule changes

Robert Tanaka, chairman of Maui Liquor Commission said that the commission voted unanimously today to roll back three key recent rule changes.

The Maui Liquor Commission today voted unanimously to roll back recent changes to the rules which permitted 24/7 sale of alcohol, removed the cap on the number of hostess bars allowed to operate on Maui and authorized home delivery of liquor.

The action came in response to a petition by Maui activist Mahina Martin and voluminous public testimony both in-person and via email favoring returning the rules to their prior status.

Liquor Commission Chairman Robert Tanaka said in a brief telephone call following the meeting that the timetable for the action has yet to be worked out, but he is hopeful that it can be accomplished in “about 60 days.” He noted that the commission needs to get legal procedural advice from its attorney and comply with regulations related to public notice and hearing.

Reacting to today’s decision petitioner Martin, commented on her Facebook page:

“After a last minute executive session, the nine-member commission voted unanimously this morning to proceed to the next step. It’s good for now but could be better.

“I believe their options were: (1) to vote against my (formal) proposal which would amend the rules and revert back to the way it was – this option would put it to a dead stop and leave things as is; (2) to find a legal exemption and vote to accept my proposal and pass it today then forward it to the mayor for his signature which would make it law – this would bypass a 30 day public notice waiting period applied to rulemaking actions; (3) vote to accept my submitted amendments and to take it to the next step of public hearing – this prolongs the period of time to get to a decision but meets 30 day public notice requirement.

Today’s vote took the route of option 3. It becomes a procedural process. We will now need to wait for the commission to announce the date for a public hearing to occur.

Yesterday’s hearing was specific to my two letters to the commission. One dated April 5 disagreeing with changes and another dated April 30 formally submitting specific verbiage to change the rules back to what they once were – necessary to trigger a hearing.

Now that the commission has agreed to move it forward, a public hearing will be announced – and after all our grumblings about the serious lack of public notice it better not be done via a classified ad in the newspaper. The public (including businesses) will have another opportunity to address the commission before it votes.

Yesterday’s outpouring of testimonies from our community made sure the commission didn’t stop a repeal effort dead in its tracks.

On another note: without resolution, the lawsuit filed by Madge Schaefer with her attorney Lance Collins, will continue.

The recent meeting of Maui Liquor Commission will air tonight May 10th on Akaku, Channel 53 at 6:30 p.m., and then again tomorrow May 11th at 8 a.m. and again at 6 pm.

This story has been updated.

Read the original story: CLICK HERE.

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About Susan Halas

Susan Halas is a Senior Political Contributor at MAUIWatch. She has followed Hawaii politics since 1976 when she moved to the Valley Isle. She was formerly a staff writer for the Maui News as well as other local print and digital publications.

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