Legislators and the Drinking Age Bill

Yesterday, at the NYRA-Vermont executive board meeting we discussed some of the letters our organization has received from legislators regarding the drinking age bill we are lobbying for. 

Interestingly, a good portion, including Governor Jim Douglas, do actually support lowering the drinking age to 18 in theory, but are not willing to part with the $9.8 million bribe in federal highway funds. The only condition is that we must violate the rights of our youth by not allowing them to consume alcohol and punish adults that wish to introduce alcohol to their children in the safety of their homes or restaurant setting.

We have argued that this loss is only 1/4 of 1% of Vermont’s entire budget, which is a small cost to end age discrimination of citizens that have reached the age of majority, which means they can enter contracts, vote, drive, own businesses, but just can have a little beer. We also support removing penalties on parents, so they can teach their teens responsible and moderate drinking behavior in restaurants, pubs, and in their homes, like in Europe. The government has stated that 18 is the age majority… this means they are adults with every right an adult is supposed to have.  To say they cannot have a beer just seems hypocritical.  Besides, the money most likely would not be an issue as we could easily make up the funds by the increased revenue from alcohol taxes.

Another argument we’ve heard lately are studies show alcohol hurts brain development in youth. These studies being quoted are based on children binge drinking.  Not occasional drinking with a meal or social drinking.  The FDA has stated that people 12 and up can consume adult dosages of most drugs/medications. This would suggest that anyone 12 and older is capable of handling alcohol at correct dosages, whether you are 18 or 25 or 75 years old.  Just check the instructions of a bottle of aspirin or Pepsid and see for yourself.

Again, it appears that many reps are unsure on how to vote. Therefore, your comments would make a difference. If you support the drinking age bill, please contact your representatives right now. We at NYRA have put together a system to do just this, quickly and easily. Click here to email your reps right now.

Disclosure: Jeremy Ryan serves at Treasurer and Webmaster for NYRA-Vermont.

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