Municipal regulations being updated, starting with liquor laws
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
The 58 municipal regulations that set forth operating guidelines for businesses have not been updated for some time and no longer accurately reflect current social and cultural conditions. These regulations are being examined and modified; the first to be changed were the regulations governing alcohol sales, manufacture, distribution and consumption.
Soon after the new administration took office a Commission of Government Regulations was formed, which has, among other charges, the updating of municipal regulations to benefit the population and the local government. The commission is headed by José Luis Zavala Rosiles, a lawyer who has worked independently and as the personal assistant to the secretary of the city council. Currently he is a city councilor representing the PRD (Democratic Revolution Party). The commission is responsible for developing proposals and recommendations as well as reviewing and updating the existing regulations.
Recently the first regulation updated by that commission was approved in a city council meeting and could be published in the official Guanajuato newspaper by the middle of June. Zavala explained that the last municipal regulations for alcohol were approved on October 12, 2012, but they only regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages. The new regulations will govern the storage, distribution, production and consumption of alcohol. The new regulations also set forth the operating parameters of municipal offices such as Civil Protection, Alcohol Control, Urban Development, Ecology and the Secretariat of the City Council, and representatives of those offices will not be allowed to act beyond their given authority. In cases of abuse of power those offended can plead their cases before the municipal judge. This new document also outlines the process for the permanent closing of bars, which did not exist before.
The new Reglamento de Alcoholes (Regulation of Alcohol) covers two types of establishments that sell alcohol: low-impact vendors (convenience stores, bars, restaurants, wineries and rental halls) that have permits and close daily at 1am, and high-impact vendors (nightclubs), which close from Sunday through Thursday at 3am and Friday and Saturday at 5am. Teenagers under 18 will not be allowed into nightclubs or discotheques; if this law is violated the owners can be fined the equivalent of between 100 and 250 days of the current minimum salary in the state.
Finally, the city councilor remarked that the new regulations do not include a mechanism to prevent corruption because the objective is the regulation of alcohol. However, they are working to improve the salaries of supervisors because “they work in a corruptible environment. And for the owner, sometimes it is easier to give them 500 pesos and avoid the fine.” After the document appears in the state newspaper it will be published on the website of the local government.