Sunday, December 04, 2005

No rules, just right

As far as public hearings go, chances are you won’t find anything with more variety than the Howard County delegation’s annual meeting to hear public input on bills proposed for the General Assembly.

With contentious testimony from hunters, animal rights activists, and a wide variety of others, as well as a sparring match between members of the delegation and General Growth Properties vice-president Dennis Miller, last year’s hearing may have been the most exciting ever.

Sadly, this year’s rite of autumn was not so lively. Indeed, Hayduke’s at a loss for comment on most of the bills.

Well, except for one. This one bill deals with something that is of vital importance to this county and something that I have long wondered about. Why is there only one Outback Steakhouse in Howard County?

If you have ever visited this establishment, you’ve no doubt asked yourself the same question. It is not uncommon to see wait times approaching two hours for hungry patrons. Moreover, such crowding is not relegated to weekend nights.

So, I’ll ask again, why is there only one Outback Steakhouse in Howard County?

Because any more than one would be against the law, that's why.

The delegation also heard testimony on two liquor bills, one that would allow wineries to sell wine in Howard, which has no wineries, and another that would allow multiple liquor licenses to be granted to the same person or corporation.
Richard W. Story, chief executive officer of the Howard County Economic Development Authority, said such a law would allow companies that own multiple restaurants to build more establishments in the county.
"To have a successful restaurant, you need an alcohol license," he said.

Surprise, government regulation has led to market shortages!
Kidding aside, I can’t think of any reason for this law to still be in force. And I’m glad to see progress being made towards a more equitable and efficient distribution of $12 steaks in Howard County.

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