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Proposed bill to lower state drinking age

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BATON ROUGE- A state senator is pushing for a new bill that would lower the drinking age in Louisiana.

Senate Bill 429 would allow 19 and 20-year-olds to buy and consume alcohol if they receive a certificate. In order to be eligible, they will have to complete a special alcohol education class.

Senator Eric Lafleur says his proposal is an extension of current law, aimed at reducing binge drinking among young people. WWL-TV reports that Louisiana’s drinking age was raised to 21 from 18 in 1986 to avoid losing federal highway dollars, but a loophole made it legal for bars and others to sell alcohol to those under 21. In 1996, that loophole was closed.

LaFleur previously said he hoped the bill would encourage drinking in public places over drinking in private, citing additional safety advantages and social pressures to behave more responsibly.

“This kid that just died at LSU — of course, that was a sort of a drinking game — I don’t know why if people need to go drink, why you would not want them to drink in a public setting where you’re subject to criticism and the rules of the restaurant and bar,” LaFleur said. “You have a little peer pressure to act appropriately when you drink, or not to drink so much, that you act inappropriately.”

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