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BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) was named "Liquor Law Enforcement Agency of the Year" at the 11th Annual Meeting of the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA). In attendance at the meeting Chief Enforcement Officer Butch Chennault and Commissioner Murphy J. Painter, who accepted the award for ATC.
"The current administration in Louisiana is not only committed to the firm but fair enforcement of alcohol and tobacco laws in the state, but is also willing to provide the means to make it a reality," Commissioner Painter said. "It is the outstanding advances made by ATC which includes dramatic reductions in alcohol and tobacco noncompliance levels, increases in the number of enforcement agents and a leap to the forefront in law enforcement technology that clinched this award for Louisiana."
Louisiana was one of 35 "open" states eligible to receive the honor. A state is considered "closed" if the state acts as the wholesaler/distributor of alcoholic beverages. David Reitz, President of the NLLEA, says Louisiana is well deserving of the award. "The biggest reason why Louisiana won over the other states is the dramatic change in such a short period of time in the noncompliance rates."
During the Foster administration, alcohol noncompliance rate in Louisiana dropped from 60% to 28% and tobacco noncompliance rates dropped from 75% to 20%. "They''re carding people on Bourbon Street, which is astounding," said Reitz. "There is obviously an absolute concern for the law and for denial of youth access to alcohol and tobacco."
Secretary of Revenue John Kennedy, whose department has jurisdiction over ATC, says the progress made at ATC in the last two years has been a point of pride for the administration. "The results that have been attained by ATC, as reflected in the dramatic drop in noncompliance rates for alcohol and tobacco laws in Louisiana, have been nothing less than outstanding," says Secretary Kennedy. "Governor Foster and I would like to congratulate ATC for receiving this award, as it is a tribute to their hard work in the ongoing battle against underage drinking."
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