SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Legislature Reforms Alcohol Laws


April 23, 2016
Saturday PM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - Friday, the Alaska State Legislature passed SB 165 which rewrites penalties for minor alcohol consumption and restructures the state Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board as part of a broader effort to overhaul the state’s alcohol laws. SB 165 also matches background check requirements for cannabis license applicants (similar to those required by alcohol licensees) and adjusts the composition of the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers.

“One of the main reasons I agreed to become involved with the review and reform of our alcohol laws was to address the counterproductive consequences suffered by young people from a mistake of possessing or consuming alcohol before they are 21 years old,” said Senator Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) who sponsored the bill. “To lose your driver’s license for a non-driving offense, and have an alcohol conviction permanently on your record places a significant obstacle on a young person’s future, some of whom just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When you’re trying to help a young person who’s made a mistake to succeed, throwing multiple obstacles in their way further complicates their potential for success.”

SB 165 codifies key recommendations of the ongoing Title 4 review taskforce formed to update the state’s alcohol laws. These include ABC Board member composition; making one of the five board seats a designated public safety seat; clarifying that minors are allowed to play and work on golf courses that serve alcoholic beverages; establishing the offenses of Minor on Licensed Premises and Minors in Possession or Consuming to be violations and not criminal offenses; and providing that such violations may not be published on CourtView, nor be cause for a driver’s license cancellation or revocation. SB 165 also encourages alcohol education or treatment upon conviction of minor consuming and possession offenses, and requires background checks for persons applying to operate marijuana establishments, as is currently required of alcohol licensees.

Under SB 165, these violations will come with a $500 fine that can be reduced through alcohol education courses or Youth Court, and drinking violations will no longer appear on a minor’s CourtView record.

This legislation was supported unanimously by members of the Title 4 Rewrite Steering Committee and of the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers. Deanna Pruhs, former Barbers and Hairdressers Board member thanked Sen. Micciche for rescuing that segment of the bill from another failed piece of legislation. Pruhs said, “I feel it is our responsibility to make sure these professional people have a voice among their peers and a representative on the Board. Thank you so much, Sen. Micciche, for sponsoring SB 165 and for your service to our state.”

“I am very pleased to implement these structural reforms to both of these Boards, which are broadly supported by the industries they oversee, and are in support of public safety and hard-working Alaskans,” said Sen. Micciche. “As our industries evolve, we must be responsive to the needs of their oversight boards for professional and responsible representation of the broader business and public safety sectors they serve.”

“Finally, I want to particularly thank the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Alaska Children’s Trust, Alaska Wellness Coalition, Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association, Mat-Su Health Foundation, Providence Hospital, Seward Prevention Coalition, Recover Alaska and the Rasmuson Foundation, all of whom have supported this ongoing alcohol reform work in Alaska over the past three years. I am grateful for the many letters of support submitted to this body, and I would also note the minor consuming law revisions have the support of the Alaska Peace Officers Association.”


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Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Office of Alaska Senator Peter Micciche


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