Keep liquor ads off the streets, city group is urging Five Senate bills would tighten laws BALTIMORE CITY

February 26, 1993|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,Staff Writer

Using a small West Baltimore liquor store as a backdrop, the City Wide Liquor Coalition announced its support yesterday for several state Senate bills that would tighten the city's liquor laws and ban outdoor

advertising of alcoholic beverages.

The small group of coalition members assembled in front of Jackson's AMKO Liquors at the corner of Edmondson Avenue and Dukeland Street. The store is about as wide as a typical city rowhouse and no fewer than 36 beer and liquor ads appear on its facade.

The coalition has been fighting alcoholic beverage advertising in Baltimore for more than a year. Coalition members say the advertising has a negative impact on children.

Bev Thomas, chairwoman of the coalition, said city neighborhoods had been "empowered" by the effort to outlaw liquor ads and to force authorities to crack down on loitering outside bars. After receiving pep talks from City Council members and city solicitor Neal Janey, the coalition members headed to Annapolis to lobby for the bills.

Inside the store, the owner, Ho Lawler, stood behind bullet resistant glass and defended her store's liquor signs. "I don't think we have [too any] signs. There are stores on Baltimore Street with more signs. This is a little tiny store," she said.

But Ms. Lawler said she did not think removing the signs would hurt her business. She said she would comply with a law requiring their removal.

The bills, sponsored by city Senators Ralph M. Hughes, Larry Young and Nathan Irby, would do the following:

* Senate Bill 808 would ban all outdoor advertising of alcohol products, including those on the sides of buildings, billboards, MTA buses and taxicabs.

* Senate Bill 804 would require an applicant for a liquor license to give the liquor board a list of all businesses in which he or she has an interest.

* Senate Bill 805 would create a law for letting an alcoholic beverage license expire if the licensee is not open for at least 20 days in one year.

* Senate Bill 806 would prevent a liquor license from being transferred from one part of the city to another.

* Senate Bill 807 sets regulations for a bar or liquor store to lose its liquor license for offenses, such as rowdiness. After a first offense, a liquor establishment would be closed for 15 days; after a second offense, it would be closed for 30 days. The liquor board would be required to close down an operation with a third major offense within three years.

Lobbyists for the alcoholic beverage industry did not return a reporter's calls yesterday.

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