TAILGATING Carano optimistic about bill

The legislative intent is to limit the license to Youngstown State University.
COLUMBUS -- A state lawmaker has resurrected a bill that would permit public universities and professional sports teams to designate areas on their premises for tailgating.
And, state Rep. Kenneth A. Carano, D-Austintown, says he's optimistic that the retooled measure will pass in the current two-year session of the Legislature, which began this month.
"I'm very optimistic," said Carano, whose previous bill passed the Ohio House but died in the Senate when the previous two-year legislative session ended in December.
Carano introduced the new version of his bill this week.
Carano said Thursday he's changed his bill to limit its effect to state universities with enrollments up to 15,000 full-time students.
The intent is to limit the proposal to Youngstown State University as other universities with similar enrollment don't have intercollegiate football teams, Carano has said.
Changes to the bill
Changes were sought in the bill primarily because of concerns by other universities, including Ohio State University, and Republican Gov. Bob Taft that the previous measure might conflict with work at colleges and universities to reduce problem-drinking and underage liquor consumption, officials said.
Universities such as OSU have also complained that the previous bill, if enacted, might pose a drain on public-safety forces to police the tailgates and impose additional costs on universities for such things as fencing, signs and other equipment related to tailgates.
Carano says he believes his new bill has addressed the concerns.
The new bill creates a "T-1" liquor permit to authorize certain colleges and universities and professional athletic teams to allow the consumption of beer and liquor on restricted areas of property they own and lease. The permit would give them the ability to limit the days and times when alcohol could be consumed.
Carano said there would be no liquor sales, under the proposed new liquor permit, and that the bill would allow people to bring in their own alcohol into the designated tailgate areas.
Carano has said that he introduced the previous bill after press reports that there was a rule on the books in Ohio banning open containers of alcohol on public parking lots.
Publicity over the apparently little-known rule had made some officials at YSU, near Carano's House district, nervous, leading to the proposal.
Carano's office said the proposal has been referred to the House State Government Committee for further study.

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