A ballot initiative has been proposed in California that could potentially lower the drinking age. In California, a proposed law is written as a “ballot initiative” and is submitted to the Attorney General. The Attorney General’s office will give the proposed law a title and summary and the state will prepare a report on the potential financial impact of the proposal. Once the Attorney General’s office has approved the proposal in this way, the proposed bill has 150 days to gather the required number of signatures. The required number of signatures is either five percent (for a statute) or eight percent (for an amendment) of the number of people who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election. In the case of this proposed legislation, the number is 365,880 signatures. Generally bills will gather significantly more than the required number of signatures in order to account for fraudulent signatures. Should the initiative collect enough signatures it will be placed on the ballot and if the majority vote in favor, it will be passed into law.

Is The Current Drinking Age Law Outdated?

This particular initiative will be voted on in November 2016 should it collect the required signatures. The main proponent of this initiative, Terrance Lynn, believes the current law is outdated. The current law setting the drinking age at 21 was established at the federal level in 1984. Lynn believes 18 year olds have all of burdens and responsibilities of adulthood and should also share in the privilege of consuming alcohol. Terrance has also stated that he will not be spending money to advertise for signatures. Terrance is against money in politics and believes spending to promote his proposal would compromise his values. Experienced politicians and businessmen have claimed that without using money to hire people to gather signatures, it is likely the proposal will not make it to ballot.

Opposition To The Proposal

The biggest opposition to this proposal, predictably, comes from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD believes raising the drinking age to 21 has saved 25,000 lives. MADD also claims that crashes have decreased by 16 percent because of the raised drinking age limit. Because federal law sets the minimum wage at 21, the state of California could potentially lose $200 million in federal highway funds, on the other hand, there is the potential for increased tax revenue from increased liquor sales.

Contact An Attorney In California

Currently, California allows those under the age of 21 to possess alcohol if their parent or of-age spouse is present. California is also one of the most lenient jurisdictions in the country when it comes to underage drinking. Most states impose strict liability for serving alcohol to a minor, in some states a person can be charged with serving a minor even if the minor steals the alcohol.

Keep in mind, here in South Carolina, as well as the rest of the United States, the drinking age is still 21. Underage drinking is an offense that could have long-term effects on your ability to find housing or employment. If you have been charged with underage drinking or providing alcohol to a minor, you need professional legal representation. Contact the attorneys at the De Bruin Law Firm today for a consultation and we will defend your rights and fight for the best possible outcome to your case.