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Archive for Saturday, March 10, 2001

Senate to take up keg bill

March 10, 2001

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— A bill that would require liquor vendors to track the buyers of beer kegs has the support of the Senate's top leader.

"There's a lot of abuse of keg beer by underage kids," Senate President Dave Kerr said Friday. "We have laws against underage kids drinking. If we are serious about our law, we ought to have a means to enforce it."

The Senate is expected to debate the measure next week. Kerr said he had not counted the supporters in the 40-member chamber but said the bill would probably pass.

The measure would require liquor retailers to record a purchaser's name and address before issuing a keg, making it easier for police to track a keg back to its purchaser and to apprehend adults who provide alcohol to minors.

Republican Sen. Jim Barnett, the Emporia physician who sponsored the bill, contends that keg registration can reduce underage drinking and its associated injuries and deaths. He predicted a close vote.

Liquor store owners and vendors have generally opposed the bill, and some senators say keg registration should be a local issue.

If communities like Emporia want keg registration, "more power to them," Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said Friday.

"We're trying to impose statewide policy on keg registration to every unit of local government, and I think that's a bad way to go about the issue," he said.

Sen. Nancey Harrington, R-Goddard, who chairs the Federal and State Affairs Committee, noted that the bill has endorsements from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Senate Vice President Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence.

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