Alcohol law changes in Maui, Hawaii cause firestorm

Maui County, Hawaii recently loosened its alcohol laws to allow residents to purchase booze 24/7 and to receive home delivery of alcohol, among other changes:

"Alcohol can now be purchased 24 hours a day at retail stores and hotels across Maui County — the first county in Hawaii to eliminate restrictions on the hours of sale.

The rules were approved by the county Liquor Control Commission at its Feb. 8 and March 8 meetings and signed into law by Mayor Alan Arakawa earlier this month. They allow liquor licensees, such as supermarkets and liquor stores, to sell alcohol past the former 11 p.m. deadline.

Many store and hotel managers were unaware of the new law when contacted Wednesday and were unsure how they would react to the change. Supporters of the change called it necessary and overdue, while police and community members were left baffled..."

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Now, in response to the changes, opposition groups have filed a lawsuit in local court. The groups argue that the process by which the rule changes were implemented was impermissible:

"Kihei resident Madge Schaefer and the Committee for Responsible Liquor Control filed a lawsuit in 2nd Circuit Court on Friday seeking the repeal of recent rule changes approved by the Liquor Control Commission that included the removal of blackout periods for the sale of alcohol, allowed home delivery of alcoholic products and removed the cap on the number of hostess bars.

The commission has come under fire for approving the changes on Feb. 8, with Schaefer and others in the community questioning

whether there was proper public notice and comment. Schaefer filed a Sunshine Law complaint against the commission over the notice for the meeting and a group has formed, the Coalition to Repeal 24-Hour Alcohol Sales, to protest the changes. The Coalition consists of law enforcement groups, youth and substance abuse treatment organizations, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and religious officials..."

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Perhaps in reaction to the controversy surrounding these changes, the Commission has announced that it will reconsider its decision: