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ASMSU may fight keg bill

February 1, 2001

A proposed state Legislature bill that would require a more elaborate process in the purchasing of a beer keg is leaving some ASMSU representatives feeling bitter.

The ASMSU Student Assembly will be voting on a measure tonight stating the undergraduate student government’s formal objection against the Michigan House’s measure.

“If anything does come up, we’ll go to Lansing and lobby against it,” said Mark Pritzlaff, ASMSU director of legislative affairs.

Under the bill, liquor retailers would have to attach an identification tag on the keg of beer with information from the buyer’s driver’s license.

The purchaser would also be required to sign a receipt and must keep the tag attached to return the keg for a refund on their deposit.

“That is an unnecessary burden on students who try to legally purchase alcohol,” Pritzlaff said.

“It’s almost like you’re trying to buy a gun.”

An original version of the beer keg proposal sponsored by state Rep. Sandra Caul, R-Mount Pleasant, was not considered by the Committee on Regulatory Reform before the previous House session ended. Caul plans on introducing another one in its place next week.

“She actually had her sights set on this session,” said Matt Sweeney, legislative aide for Caul. “She brought it up last session to get some discussion started on the subject.”

Because a majority of the population she represents are Central Michigan University students, Sweeney said Caul’s measure is specifically inspired by drinking issues involving college students.

“She feels this is one step we can take here in Michigan in preventing underage drinking,” Sweeney said.

He also said Caul hopes to decrease binge drinking accidents among college students.

However, Pritzlaff said the concentration on students is one of the bill’s major flaws.

“This is just a way to further regulate the activity of students,” he said. “I think it is a knee-jerk reaction to some of the things that have happened here in the past.”

Shane Waller, Student Assembly vice chairperson for external affairs, is also concerned that the information tags may make finding parties with underage drinking a little too easy for police.

“That may not be the intent of the bill, but it could be used for that purpose,” Waller said.

Sweeney said that is not the measure’s objective nor does it necessarily permit any unfair police methods.

“This does not allow in any way for that to happen,” he said. “The tag is only an investigational tool if anything does occur.”

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