Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Will South Dakota Do? (Updated)

The latest state in which there is an attempt to lower the drinking age is South Dakota. Which, as you may know, was the second to last state (followed only by Wyoming) to raise the drinking age to 21 in 1988 under federal duress and coercion. State Rep. Tim Rounds (R) currently has a proposal to let 19-20 year olds drink beer in bars if accompanied by someone over 21. Even that is rankling people like MADD, though. Rounds says he will drop the proposal if it will cost the state federal highway funding, which it likely will (it is unlikely that he found a loophole in the federal law).

Here's some advice, Mr. Rounds. You don't start out with a compromised position like this one. You will only have to compromise further. Obama learned this lesson the hard way when it came to healthcare (in 2003 he actually wanted single-payer, similar to Canada, and probably most Americans would have agreed). We know Rounds had a plan that was even more liberal than his current one last year.

If it passes, this will do good to pave the way for further changes in the drinking age, so let's cheer him on. We at 21 Debunked look forward to the day when in all 50 states, all 18-20 year olds will have the same rights as those over 21. In every way.

UPDATE:  Tim Rounds is still moving forward with the proposal as of January 2009, though he faces an uphill battle in the legislature.  Unfortunately, it appears to be too much of a compromise, and it is unclear whether even that would get around the federal highway funds coercion.  His latest plan would create special bars for 19-20 year olds to drink only beer and only on premises, though he dropped the requirement of being accompanied by someone over 21. 

Unfortunately, he added a provision that would make it a felony DUI for anyone under 21 to drive with even the slightest amout of alcohol in one's system.  It is already illegal to do so in all 50 states for those under 21, and it seems excessive and out of proportion to make it a felony (read: life-destroying) offense to drive after a single drink.  While we at Twenty-One Debunked do not support any kind of impaired driving, however slight, we think there is a significant difference between one beer and ten, and that the law should reflect that difference.  And what about false positives?

FEB. 2010 UPDATE:  The bill has officially been killed by the legislature, unfortunately.

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