The Neighborhood and Public Safety Committee made the decision to push back Ordinance 180716 one more week at the October 10 meeting. The ordinance was proposed by 1st District Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Wagner.
It would drastically change the current system of liquor permits that Kansas City has for those who are employed at bars, taverns, and hotels. Wagner proposed this new system as an attempt to make it easier for ex-convicts to get jobs and be successful after release.
Many Kansas City residents have come out in opposition of this ordinance. Some fear that this will allow pedophiles and sexual criminals to serve drinks to unknowing patrons, putting them at risk.
Sandy Saxon, manager at the Ruskin Heights Home Association, who testified at the October 10 meeting, repeated some of what her colleagues have already said.
“It’s as risky as hiring a pedophile at a daycare,” Saxon said.
The council chair and 5th District Councilwoman Alissia Canady stated,“We have fully noted the testimonies [of those] who have opposed this ordinance and we have fully noted those ex-felons who have cried the need for jobs.”
This reason is why the committee has proposed two committee substitutes for the controversial ordinance.
The first committee sub, titled Wagner-1 is “taking the approach of the no-hire route.” In summary, this substitute will work on refining the sex offender list, making it easier for employers to see who they should not be hiring in the first place. It will eliminate the use of liquor cards, and will initially ensure that no sex offenders are being hired for these positions.
The second committee sub, titled Wagner-2, will target those with 3 a.m. liquor permits at their business. This license is considered to make patrons more vulnerable if they are being served by sexual offenders, as they have the ability to over serve them until the bar closes, and follow them out if they are vulnerable.
The substitute will make sure that only employees of bars with 3 a.m. permits will have to get a liquor card, which means only these employees will be regulated. This way people with criminal records will still have some freedom after being released, but will still be regulated in the industry to an extent.
Scott Wagner said, “[Committee sub Wagner-2] would eliminate the greatest opportunity to get served too many drinks. It would eliminate the opportunity to get taken advantage of.”
Wagner said he believes that the substitutes proposed have “varying degrees of advantages and disadvantages.”
Although the committee agree that each substitute has something to offer, the committee also believed it needs more time to look over the proposed substitute, and that it needed to include the council member that was not present at the October 10 meeting. The Ordinance will be addressed again next week.