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Senate Passes Bill to Increase Penalties on Underage Drinking

(JUNEAU) - The State Senate on Feb. 22 passed Senate Bill 194, "Civil Damages for Alcohol Violations", sponsored by Senator Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage.

"Drinking by people under 21 is a problem in our state," said Senator Meyer.  "Too many of our young people get alcohol from adults."

SB 194 increases civil damages from $1,000 to $1,500 for minors who knowingly enter or remain in premises licensed to sell alcohol, people who solicit or purchase alcohol for anyone under the age of 21, and people with restrictions on purchasing alcohol.

Additionally, SB 194 encourages education programs as part of sentencing in civil action suits for youths to have a better understanding of how alcohol affects their bodies.

According to the State of Alaska's Plan to Reduce & Prevent Underage Drinking, 11 percent of all treatment admissions for alcohol abuse in the state were youngsters between 12 and 20. 

"Kids are not the only ones with a problem," said Senator Meyer.  "There are currently 2,133 alcohol restricted licenses issued in the state.  An increase in civil damages will reinforce the message to youngsters and adults that underage drinking will not be tolerated."

Senator Meyer has a long legislative history of keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors since his time on both the Municipal Assembly in Anchorage and the House of Representatives in Juneau.

Having passed the Senate, SB 194 now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

For more information, contact Senator Meyer or Christine Marasigan at 907-465-4945.

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