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Proposed bill suggests new keg regulations

October 18, 2000

Keg parties for college students could be a little different if legislation introduced last week becomes law.

A bill requiring kegs to be tagged and more information to be demanded from their purchaser was introduced Thursday by state Rep. Sandy Caul, R-Mount Pleasant. The legislation is intended to increase responsibility for keg parties and curb underage and binge drinking.

“Not only will keg registration be a valuable tool for law enforcement to investigate alcohol-related tragedies,” Caul said, “but it will also prove to be a significant deterrent to those who consider providing keg beer to minors.

“If this helps stop one alcohol-related sexual assault, drunk driving accident or death, it will be worthwhile.”

The proposed bill would require customers to submit their names, addresses, telephone numbers and driver’s license numbers to retailers for identification tags. A tag would be attached to the keg and retailers would keep copies on file.

Customers would also have to give the address of the party and where the keg will be stored if it isn’t finished. Retailers could be fined under the proposal if they fail to get the information from the purchaser.

Rich McCarius of Tom’s Party Store Inc., 2778 E. Grand River Ave., doesn’t like the proposed law.

“It sounds like big brother to me,” McCarius said. “If the idea is to deter underage drinking, people can get a can or bottle of beer just as easily as from a keg.

“It’s a matter of personal responsibility - what’s next, a case of wine?”

East Lansing tried a similar program in 1996 where stores that sold kegs would require purchasers to fill out a form with their personal information on it and would hold the keg-purchaser accountable for any underage drinking that occurred at his or her party.

Unfortunately, the program didn’t work very well, said East Lansing police Officer Dan DeKorte.

“One community cannot do it by itself,” DeKorte said. “It has to be a statewide action - people were just leaving the city to buy their kegs.

“I think the legislation kind of took off from what we tried in ’96 with keg beer in East Lansing,” DeKorte said. “Keg beer is where we see the largest volume of problems.”

Two other states, Washington and Oregon, already have similar laws in place, and Virginia and Maryland have also proposed keg-tagging legislation.

Another keg bill, proposed in early 1999 by state Sen. Dianne Byrum, D-Onondaga, failed to receive enough votes to become law.

“I’m not really nervous about it,” said Joseph Lee, a history junior who has attended keg parties in the past. “The police already know where the kegs are.”


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