|Legal Opinion: |
Text of Document: February 21, 1996
This letter is in response to your questions regarding your city's beer ordinance. Specifically you asked whether the beer board may suspend or revoke the permit of someone who has been convicted of gambling offenses where the gambling took place at the beer establishment. I have reviewed the copy of the ordinance you faxed me, and it is my opinion that the beer board may take action against the permit holder, including suspension or revocation of the permit.
Tennessee Code Annotated ("T.C.A.") § 57-5-106 provides that "[a]ll cities . . . are authorized to pass proper ordinances governing the issuance and revocation or suspension of licenses for the storage, sale, manufacture and/or distribution of beer within the corporate limits of the cities . . ." In addition, the courts have consistently held that cities have broad authority to regulate the sale of beer within their corporate limits. City regulations are generally upheld by the courts unless they are arbitrarily or discriminatorily enforced. Section 7(9) of the ordinance that you sent me clearly makes it a violation to allow gambling on the premises. Section 8 of the ordinance provides that the beer board shall have the power ro revoke any beer permit when the permitee violates any provisions of the ordinance. See also T.C.A. § 57-5-108. The facts as you stated them were that the permit holder was convicted on gambling offenses and these offenses occurred at the permitted establishment. Therefore, the beer board may initiate revocation or suspension proceedings against the permit holder pursuant to its ordinance.
As we discussed, the ordinance that you faxed me was adopted in 1982 and needs to be updated to be in compliance with changes in state law. The necessity of these changes will not affect the validity of the ordinance in the current situation. I have enclosed a sample ordinance for the board's consideration. I will be happy to work with the board to make any modifications that may be desired.
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of any further assistance. Thanks for asking MTAS to help.
MTAS Legal Consultant