Thanks to state Sen. Martin Looney, the city can continue to tell the state liquor commission about problem bars that shouldn’t have their booze-vending permits re-upped.
Looney, who represents New Haven and serves as Senate majority leader, Friday secured a six-month extension of a pilot program that allows the city to try to crack down on bars that are hotspots for crime or neighborhood complaints.
The program, which started Jan. 1, 2012, notifies the chief of police and allows him to offer comments and recommendations when a New Haven bar is up for renewal of its liquor license. Previously, the police chief might not even have known that a renewal was in the works.
Looney, who introduced the original law that created the program, designed it to help New Haven address problems at bars like the Taurus Cafe in Newhallville, the scene of a number of stabbings and shootings; as well as problems in the downtown nightclub district. Click the play arrow above to see downtown nightclub owner Jason Cutler confront city officials about the bill in 2011.
The program was set to expire Dec. 31, 2013. The extension passed Friday means it will continue for an extra six months, until June 30, 2014.
“Most permit holders abide by the law and take the terms of holding that permit seriously,” Looney said in a release. “However, as we’ve seen in the City of New Haven, some individuals do abuse the system. While local police deal on the front line when there are issues at these bars, it makes little sense that they would have no ability to comment should a permit come up for renewal. Giving the NHPD the ability to officially identify problem bars and clubs will improve the quality of life and the public’s safety.”