State Senate Proposes Teens Drink With Parental Supervision

PHOTO: Drinks at a bar

The state of Colorado will shift its focus away from recently legalized marijuana and toward underage drinking… with supervision that is. Republican Senator Greg Brophy from Wray, Colorado hopes to propose a new law that would allow 18-year-olds to drink alcohol at bars and restaurants with parental supervision.

Brophy told ABC News that the bill is almost finalized and is in drafting but it should be presented in the next few days.

Brophy told ABC News that he thought that 18-year-olds should have this right because alcohol is a legal substance that they would be consuming legally in a mere three years anyway. "It would be a good idea for young adults to learn about responsible use of this product with responsible adults."

When asked why 18 was the chosen age, Brophy said, "As a society we have arbitrarily chosen that age to convey upon people most of the rights and responsibilities of adulthood." He continues, "At 18 people are old enough to enter into binding contracts, they are old enough to vote, and to serve our country. Age 18 is the number that society has chosen, so I figured we would start there."

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As of now, Colorado's drinking laws are fairly lenient. The Centennial State allows its under-agers to consume alcohol on private, non alcohol-selling premises, with parental supervision, for educational purposes (such as culinary students), and for medical or religious purposes.

"Why is it appropriate for the state to deny responsible parents the opportunity to show their own adult children how to safely and responsibly consume adult beverages in public?" Brophy asked.

Under Brophy's proposal, parents would need to provide their ID as well as identification for their child; however, the server would ultimately have the say on whether alcohol would be served to the underage person.

Pete Meersman, CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, says that he is opposed to the legislation. "It puts all the burden of making the decisions of who can and can't be served onto our servers and our operators."

Meersman continues, "We can have our license suspended or revoked if there is an issue with serving someone under 21 years of age."

The concern of the Colorado Restaurant Association is that they have no real way of discerning between a parental relationship. Meersman mentions the situations of young married couples where one partner is 21 and the other is not and he discusses complications dealing with civil unions and couples/families who do not share the same last name.

"We have no way of telling who is legitimate and who is not," Meersman says.

"If the bill passes, which we are opposed to, we will advise our members to not serve anyone who is under 21." Meersman continues, "We are not going to take any chances on losing our license and the liabilities will ultimately rest on the servers and on the restaurants."

If the legislation passes, Colorado would not be alone in their quest for consented alcohol consumption for young adults. Eleven states --Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming--allow the consumption of alcohol for 18-year-olds on alcohol-selling premises such as restaurants and bars with parental approval.

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