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Frustration Mounts Over Non-Profit Liquor Rules

Madge Schaefer (left) who challenged the commission action in court yesterday and Maui County Council member Yuki Lei Sugimura (right) who spearheaded today's opposition put their heads together to go over proposed rule revisions outside the executive session of the Maui Liquor Commission meeting today in Wailuku. MAUIWatch/Susan Hales.

Wednesday’s meeting of the Maui County Liquor Commission went into executive session at 12:30 p.m. to consider revising drastic rules which affect the ability of nonprofit organizations to serve alcohol during one-day fundraising events.

These “Class 10” special permits are now a topic of urgent concern as non-profits seek to push back against recent rules changes which would require fingerprinting, criminal background checks, disclosure of social security numbers, and work history dating back to the age of 18 for staff, board members, and volunteers.

Any decision on creating new rules would require 30 days notice to implement, which means it could be enacted as early as September.

At the public part of today’s meeting, council member Yuki Lei Sugimura, acting as a private citizen, led the push back, and many others affiliated with non-profits also spoke in opposition to the harsh regulations. Many of the organizations who host gala fundraising events are facing tight deadlines for upcoming events and cannot wait until September for answers. There were many frowns and worried faces as the door to the meeting room closed so the commission members could talk it over among themselves and with staff and legal advisors. Of the nine member commission, only five were present.

Click here for more MAUIWatch coverage of today’s hearing.

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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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