Legislature(2001 - 2002)

05/02/2001 05:17 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
            HB 214-CIVIL ACTION AGAINST MINORS IN BARS                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KEVIN MEYER, bill  sponsor, testified that  the bill                                                            
allows any  alcohol licensee to bring  a civil suit against  a minor                                                            
using  a  fake  identification   in  order  to  purchase   alcoholic                                                            
beverages.   Although  this  is  a   class  A  misdemeanor,   minors                                                            
frequently are  not prosecuted while the business  owner faces sever                                                            
penalties.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Businesses  must post  a sign informing  the public  that any  minor                                                            
attempting  to enter the  premises is  in violation  of the  law and                                                            
could be liable for damages  up to $1,000.00 which can come from the                                                            
minor's permanent fund  dividend if there is a judgment against that                                                            
minor.  In Anchorage,  several  establishments  split the  $1,000.00                                                            
civil  fine imposed  between  the business  and the  employee as  an                                                            
incentive to  employees to catch minors  with fake identifications.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 214 sends  a powerful message to  minors that both the  state and                                                            
businesses  are   serious  in  their  effort  to  curtail   underage                                                            
drinking.  He then  referenced  several letters  of  support in  the                                                            
committee  packets and  noted that  there has been  an ordinance  in                                                            
effect in Anchorage  for three years that mirrors  this legislation.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked who  would get the money from the fine if this                                                            
becomes a state statute.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MEYER responded  that the civil fine would be between                                                            
the licensee and  the minor. If there is criminal  prosecution, then                                                            
the fine imposed would  go to either the city or the state depending                                                            
on which one prosecutes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT asked  whether the licensee  could prosecute  if                                                            
the police discover the  use of fake identification not the licensee                                                            
or their employee.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1592                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked whether  a small claims action had to be filed                                                            
to get the money.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MEYER  said  that  was  correct.  In  addition,  the                                                            
parents  would  be involved  which  is  not the  case  for  criminal                                                            
action.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked  whether there had to be an incident report                                                            
filing taken to small claims court to get the $1,000.00.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  O.C.  MADDEN,  representative  from  Brown  Jug  in  Anchorage,                                                            
explained  that they  have been  using  the ordinance  to deal  with                                                            
underage drinking  issues for the  last three years. When  employees                                                            
seize fake  identification,  a demand for payment  order is  sent to                                                            
the  minors  residence  of record  which  immediately  involves  the                                                            
parents.  Sometimes a  small claims  action is necessary  and  it is                                                            
their policy to split the fine with the employee.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT pointed  out that although  the local  ordinance                                                            
may give authority  to demand payment without filing  a small claims                                                            
action,  the statute  does not. Small  claims action  must be  taken                                                            
before there is a right to make the demand.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MADDEN responded that  the Anchorage ordinance requires a demand                                                            
letter be sent 15 days prior to initiating a civil action.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  explained that Anchorage has set  up a notification                                                            
time  line  and a  structure  in  which  to  do this.  There  is  no                                                            
requirement  of notification, however.  A small claims action  could                                                            
be filed immediately.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He called  for additional  testimony  and received  no response.  He                                                            
then asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  moved CSHB 214(L&C) from committee  with individual                                                            
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, CSHB 214(L&C)  moved from committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                

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