Bar workers react to new bar bill taking effect July 1
A new South Dakota law involving bar owners or their employees charged with a crime involving minors goes into effect Sunday. The law stems from a court case happening in Huron.
We show you what this means for bars in the state.
18th Amendment bar manager Rob Horrocks might work in Sioux Falls but he knows all about the case involving a Huron bar owner.
"He shouldn't have been in business in the first place because he gives business owners like myself a bad reputation," Horrocks said.
Horrocks' group owns a total of seven bars in Sioux Falls. All are 21 plus and there's a reason why.
"Even though we are a restaurant but because alcohol is our primary product, we don't allow any minors in and I think it's a dangerous mixture when you do all ages shows," Horrocks said.
And this is why this new law was put in place.
Huron bar owner, 35-year-old Werner Fajardo was arrested and charged with rape. The El Cuervo bar owner allegedly gave alcohol to three middle school girls during teen nights at the bar. He later posted bond and was back working at the bar.
When state senator Tom Hansen heard about this, he knew something needed to be done.
"To not allow that person to be allowed back into the environment where the activity took place," Hansen said.
Under this new law the person charged couldn't return to work. But only during the time when the person is arrested up until the case is heard in court.
The law deals with bar owners or their employees. They have to be charged with a felony involving a minor and the incident happens in the bar. The owner could also lose their liquor license.
While every case is different, Hansen says if an employee was charged but the bar owner didn't have anything to do with it there's a chance they wouldn't lose their liquor license.
Hansen says the law is just another resource for the court system.
"It provides more tools to law enforcement and the legal system to be able to deal with bad behavior," Senator Tom Hansen said.
Hansen is just one senator who introduced this bill and he had a lot of supporters.
"The reason we brought it forward is, it could happen again. We hope it doesn't," Hansen said.
Bar workers like Horrocks feel the same way which is why he thinks we should have more than just another new law.
"A committee might be the best for alcohol management like maybe that would be something," Horrocks said.
Maybe something more for lawmakers to think about.
Fajardo pleaded not guilty to multiple rape charges. His trial keeps getting delayed but is expected to start August 15th.
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