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Proposed law could put restrictions on public drinking in Butte

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Aug 07 2013 06:08:11 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

Right now, Butte is one of the few places the United States that allows open containers of alcohol on the street anytime of day, but the proposed ordinance would change that.

"You're not just talking about a new law," explained Sam Jankovich, owner of the M&M, "but you're talking about trying to change the behavior of what's been in the blood of Butte citizens for years and years and years."

Jankovich said this new ordinance isn't right for the Mining City.

He said, "at the M&M, it's a unique place because its open 24/7, so we try to do a really good job from 1:30 to two, getting all the liquor outside on the street, but if we had to have a police force out there and trying to manage that and govern that I think it would be unrealistic."

The law would restrict open containers of alcoholic beverages in public areas from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Anyone caught violating that could face a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

"I don't think people need to be out there between 2 and 8 with alcohol on the streets," said Lyle Nalivka, who manages Sparky's Garage.

Other business owners are in favor of the plan, and say it's a step in the right direction.

Uptown business owner Robin Mcculloch said, "if it'll control the amount of puking on the sidewalk, the cigarette butts, the loose bottles, and the peeing in the alley and the sidewalks in that period of time, as a businessman I'll be thrilled to death."

While reactions are mixed, people on both sides of the argument say they are concerned this could be a slippery slope to stricter restrictions on public drinking.

Nalivka explained, "I'd hate to see us lose our privileges of having festivals and things that we do that make Butte special for the people who come to visit and the local residents."