In an effort to curb “out of control” events at Omaha bars, the State Liquor Control Commission has asked the Omaha City Council to explore licensing the event promoters who draw in crowds.
“By weeding out the bad (promoters), we can get away from people having guns and tear gas and God-knows-what and save a life,” said Bob Batt, chairman of the commission.
Several bars have had reports of fights or shootings in recent months. A 24-year-old was killed late last year in a shooting connected to an event at the Halo Lounge.
Most of the disturbances can be tied to one or two promoters, Batt said.
In a letter to the council president, Tom Mulligan, Batt called for a two-pronged approach to the problem. The liquor commission should place greater responsibility on bars that use promoters, he said, and the council should examine licensing promoters on its own.
The commission does not have jurisdiction to license promoters.
Franklin Thompson, chairman of the council's liquor committee, said he agrees with Batt's recommendation. The city needs to start licensing promoters, he said, and should begin exploring how to do so.
Promoters can mislead bar owners, he said, and advertise specials without the bar owner's consent or bring in more people than the bar is legally allowed to hold. Because bar owners already have tight restrictions, they end up getting an unfair share of the blame, he said.
At the same time, he said the city needs to devise specific definitions so new enforcement methods don't infringe on small promoters or less-formal events.
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