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Bill that would have banned people under 21 from entering bars gutted in committee

1 year 1 month 5 days ago Tuesday, May 09 2023 May 9, 2023 May 09, 2023 7:12 PM May 09, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A bill that would've closed bars to people under 21 is no longer after heavy amendments.

The bill's author, Senator Beth Mizell was not thrilled with the changes, but happy it's moving forward.

"It's the same bill number but it's not the same bill. I would loved to have made the bill broader. I would loved to have made the Dram Shop Law apply to all alcohol establishments but it only applies to class a general licensed establishments which basically are bars," she said.

The new version of SB 19$ doesn't ban 18-20 year olds from entering a bar. Rather, it puts in place what is called a Dram Shop Law.

Mizell gives the example of an underage kid being served at a bar, who then wrecks their car on the way home.

"The intoxicated 18, 19, or 20 year old is the responsible party and I think we can all agree that the 18, 19 or 20 year old is the least capable of being responsible. The bar owner who has the license issued by the state of Louisiana should be held as the responsible party and that's what this bill does."

Currently Louisiana is one of only eight states without a law like this already in place.

The family of Maddie Brooks was there to speak in favor of the original version of the bill.

"Maddie is no longer here to use her loud, power voice so we, her family, are here to speak for her. You have a priceless opportunity at your hands thanks to Senator Mizell to help close the loopholes making it so easy for young adults to consume alcohol," Lauren Leblanc said.

The dozens of bar owners and employees that came to oppose the original bill opted not to speak when called on after the amendments were added.

The bill now goes to the Senate floor for a vote.

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