ABLE Commission
(Mike Allen)

Given their general behavior, past and present, I like to think the Oklahoma ABLE Commission offices look somewhat like the comic above: Dark, drab, and generally opposed to fun.

Apparently, the Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement Commission has created some (more) confusion about what bartenders are allowed to do while serving alcohol, and the often-maligned agency has provided some emergency rules for Gov. Kevin Stitt to sign.

This latest “emergency” stems from the ABLE Commission’s discovery that the downtown Mahogany Steakhouse has allowed its employees to participate in educational wine tastings. Outraged by this and the realization that — gasp — bartenders have been manipulating air pressure with their finger and a straw to sample cocktails, the ABLE Commission has issued citations in OKC.

Of course, educational tastings are things in which servers and bartenders partake so they can talk intelligently to their customers about the product they’re selling. The rub is that some employees allegedly were consuming up to 18 ounces of wine, but over what amount of time the wine was being consumed has not been reported.

Under Oklahoma statute, employers and employees cannot drink or be under the influence of alcohol while at work, but what exactly constitutes “drinking” seems a little vague in this case. It doesn’t sound like the end of the world to me, but what do I know?

In an interview about the regulations, ABLE Commission Deputy Director Lori Carter — formerly of Mike Hunter’s disgraced Attorney General’s Office — discussed the situation with Fox 25.

“We have to protect the public from alcohol, which is a dangerous drug,” Carter said.

Perhaps bartenders sampling drinks is the end of the world for some, I don’t know. I’m told by NonDoc journalists that the dramatic situation prompted a meeting among parties in Stitt’s office before Christmas, where I am guessing the governor offered limited refreshments. With the downtown Mahogany Steakhouse being a prime location for lobbyists and lawmakers to dine and drink during the legislative session, the ABLE Commission picked an interesting entity to cite for violations.

As far as I can tell, the new rules appear mostly to reinforce existing laws, so I’m not sure if they clear anything up or are just intended to be a reminder as the empire strikes back. I’ll have to crack open a cold Coors and give it some thought.

Sundaze comics from 2023

Hello, 2024: Cheers to another year of art imitating life
Ooops, Santa left his tax exempt certificate at home
Despite OKC restaurants closing, keep a positive palate
Personal fowl: Switzer blitzes Stitt on rooster rumbles
Sen. Markwayne Mullin takes his fight and bite national
Stitt antes up for February fight on sports betting
Bad luck Halloween: The rainy trick spoiling your treats
New OKC Thunder arena election may not be a layup
The water meter spins at the Edmond aquatic center
Ryan Walters explores new math with budget request
Endless consumption: Pac-Man popular in Oklahoma
Cheers to 8 years of (sometimes political) cartoons
What to do when there’s no room at the Edmond inn?
Behold, OU students: Lindsey Street tailgating returns
PAC 12 implosion continues conference realignment
The Earth must be quite a pothole for UFOs
American Heartland Theme Park raises some eyebrows
Sick of Stitt hammering the machine, Drummond seeks a spin
Introducing a Razr-thin margin of plausible deniability
Bright future: OKC Thunder rookies ready to get to work
Blockbuster: Oklahoma weather presents DVD-size hail
Uncommon ground in Edmond: No art of compromise?
Stitt knows how to get, how to get to Override Street
Former Justice Steven Taylor broke open a tie ballgame
Welcome to the whirlwind of graduation season
All aboard? Coordinating an Edmond, Norman, OKC commuter rail vote
Dunkin’ on each other for ‘Donuts with the Governor’
Oklahoma’s turnpike expansion plan faces road blocks
Easter Sundaze: Trying to save a dime in the egg aisle
Preserving Hafer Park memories: Welcome to paradise
Oklahoma’s Broadband Office and the mystery of missing meeting minutes
March Madness 2023: So your bracket is in shambles
Will the Oklahoma House lock in Daylight Saving Time?
SQ 820: We’ve got another election on our hands
Cockfighting fight turns back time at Oklahoma Capitol
Valentine voting: For the love of democracy
Last week on This Old Attorney General’s Office
Budget hearing previews the last ride of Mark McBride
Plenty of cooks in the Oklahoma education kitchen
Here’s looking at you, me: The two jobs of Ryan Walters
Compared to recent years, 2022 seemed tolerable