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Sloshie, e-bike rules slated for adoption

November 28, 2018

New county rules could require beverage servers to undergo mandatory training, retailers to display warning signs about sloshies and e-bike users to register their rides.

Those regulations are all covered in a single new document in which county staff has been compiling all county regulations that don’t have to do with land use.

Deputy County Attorney Keith Gingery said many of the rules included, such as those governing dog ownership or county meeting procedures, aren’t changing. But some rules are new, such as additional requirements for retailers selling sloshies.

Under the proposed regulations, “open container alcohol drinks” like the icy flavored beverages would be required to be sold sealed in a container. Retailers could choose their own seals, but they “must be designed as to be obvious as to whether the seal has been broken and that it is not possible to drink from the container so long as the seal is in place.”

Retailers must also post a sign displaying a warning message reminding customers that open containers aren’t permitted in a vehicle and must remain sealed in a moving vehicle.

The policy is the culmination of much discussion at the county about clarifying sloshie rules for public safety. At an August 2017 workshop commissioners directed staff to draft new rules governing the beverage.

Sheriff Jim Whalen said he’s still concerned that most sloshie consumers may be violating open container laws but acknowledged the proposed requirements may help with consumer education.

“To remind the consumer, ‘Hey, look, it is illegal to consume these while operating a motor vehicle or being a passenger in a motor vehicle,’ I think that’s a good thing,” Whalen said.

Another proposal aiming to curb alcohol violations would require mandatory beverage training for servers at Teton County businesses. Right now the county doesn’t have requirements for server training. Under the proposed rules, employees serving alcohol must complete the responsible service training within 90 days of employment.

Physician Travis Riddell has been involved with crafting the policy with the Board of Health. He said it’s one opportunity to help curb the county’s underage drinking problem, as well as over-serving.

“There is evidence that mandatory training is a more effective deterrent than voluntary or incentive-based programs,” he said.

A similar proposal previously failed in the town of Jackson. In the town, businesses are required to participate in server training only after failing a compliance check.

Also included is a new section of rules regulating e-bikes on the county pathway system. Last December town and county officials approved a policy to allow them on pathways and bike lanes.

“Anything that’s defined as a low-speed electric bicycle is permitted on town and county pathways,” Pathways Coordinator Brian Schilling said.

Schilling said the town approved its own similar ordinance allowing e-bikes on town paths last spring and also implemented a system requiring e-bike users to register with the Jackson Police Department. The county’s proposed regulations also include a requirement for e-bikes in the county to be labeled with classifications like speed and wattage, but Schilling isn’t sure how that provision will be managed or enforced.

E-bikes remain prohibited on federal pathways, like the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park pathways.

Gingery said that in Teton County the county’s focus often revolves around land development regulations. But state statutes also grant the County Commission authority to pass administrative rules that affect the public, per the Wyoming Administrative Procedure Act.

“Sometimes people forget the county commissioners have a very large role in a lot of other aspects of county government,” Gingery said.

The rules and regulations will be before county commissioners for a vote at 9 a.m. Dec. 4. The full draft rules are available at TetonCountyWY.gov.

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