ASMSU aims to have keg tag law repealed
On the weekend of the MSU vs. U-M football game, 100 emergency vehicles were deployed at MSU and in East Lansing to transport individuals, many of them drunk, according to a report from ASMSU, MSU’s undergraduate student government.
That specific weekend also fell right before Halloween, which some might see as the reason for the increased amount of emergency vehicles utilized.
But according to Olin Health Center and ASMSU, the disproportionate increase in the use of community health resources is part of a dangerous trend in increased hard liquor consumption on campus – one that is being caused by, ASMSU representatives assert, Michigan’s keg registration law.
ASMSU is actively working with state lawmakers to create legislation that could repeal the keg registration law and make it easier for individuals to purchase kegs of beer.
Michigan’s keg registration law took effect in 2011 and was meant to decrease underage drinking by holding buyers accountable for their kegged beer. A state-issued tag is to be placed on the keg detailing where the buyer lives, their ID number and date of birth.
Since the law took effect, there have been noticeable changes in the drinking climate on campus, including an increase in hard liquor consumption and sales, said KC Perlberg, ASMSU’s vice president for governmental affairs.
In the fiscal year following the law’s introduction, Olin Health Center uncovered a 3.5 to 4 percent increase in liquor sales, compared to the typical annual increase of 1.7 percent.
In addition, a National Institute of Health study assessed the effects of six different alcohol-related laws on the number of fatal crashes in America, and found that the implementation of a keg registration law accounts for a 12 percent increase in the fatal crash incident ratio for underage drinkers.
The report fell in line with ASMSU’s argument.
“Keg registration laws that may reduce underage beer keg consumption may also promote the substitution of distilled spirits consumption by youths,” according to the report.
East Lansing police Lt. Steve Gonzalez also said the law is difficult to enforce for police officers because they must identify a specific individual who provided the alcohol to a minor in an often large party setting and cannot just hold an entire house accountable.
Perlberg said the initial intention of the law has left behind skewed results.
“Unfortunately, the law is not doing what it was tasked to do, and so as a responsible governing body, we see it as our duty to address this, as it is negatively affecting our campus,” Perlberg said.
Students on campus who see the law as a deterrent from buying kegs welcome the idea of repealing the keg registration law.
“I think a lot of the time we choose not to get a keg because we don’t want to be held accountable if someone we don’t even know gets too drunk at our party,” kinesiology senior Sophie Floyd said.
Although the law is still in full effect in Michigan, ASMSU has passed a resolution to advocate for its repeal, which means whoever takes over as ASMSU vice president for governmental affairs cannot neglect its importance, Perlberg said.