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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 14, 2016 10:21 AM
From: Representative Jason Dawkins
To: All House members
Subject: Additional Penalties for Establishments that sell Alcohol to Minors (Re-Introduction of Former HB488)
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation – former House Bill 488 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – that will strengthen state laws relating to underage drinking and the sale of alcohol to minors at our licensed establishments.

Specifically, the bill would look to encourage licensed establishments, and their employees, to be more diligent in limiting sales to minors, and thus curbing underage drinking, by assessing a fine of $5,000 to $15,000 if they sell alcohol to a minor who is then convicted of a violent crime. The bill would provide an exemption to establishments that used a transaction scan device on the identification card to determine the legal age of the individual.

Underage drinking is becoming an epidemic across the United States, and Pennsylvania is not immune. For Philadelphia, and other densely populated areas of the state, the statistics are alarming. According to the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in 2013, underage drinking cost the citizens of Pennsylvania $2.4 billion. Further, in 2012, an estimated 45 traffic fatalities and 2,452 nonfatal traffic injuries were attributed to driving after underage drinking. Licensees who enable minors to consume alcohol are not only endangering the life of the minor, but also of all the individuals within their presence, since the consequences of consumption of alcohol can be deadly.

In addition, this proposal would require licensees who have two or more offenses, within a three year period relating to the sale of alcohol to minors, to obtain and use an ID scanner, technically known as transaction scan devices, to check the validity of a patron’s ID. With technology constantly advancing, fraudulent IDs are becoming more and more sophisticated, and it is far more difficult to detect false identification visually today than it was 10 years ago. This legislation would ensure that licensees who are having a difficult time identifying fake IDs will have the proper tools necessary to prevent underage drinking.

Introduced as HB1149