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Utah lawmakers advance bill to change liquor laws, do away with requirement to pour drinks behind 'Zion curtain'

Wednesday - 2/27/2013, 6:48pm  ET

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Utah legislative committee has advanced a bill to repeal a state law that requires restaurants to mix and pour alcoholic drinks behind a partition.

The barriers, known as "Zion curtains," went up in 2010 as part of a compromise after lawmakers lifted a mandate for bars to operate as members-only social clubs. The barrier rule applies only to restaurants that opened after that compromise.

A House committee voted 9-3 Wednesday to approve the bill.

Restaurant owners and tourism officials say the law is unnecessary and hinders tourism.

But some lawmakers say that removing the mandate could encourage underage drinking and influence customers to drink too much.

The majority of legislators and residents in Utah belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches its members to abstain from alcohol.

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