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A PROPOSED RESOLUTION IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
To declare the existence of an emergency with respect to the need to amend the District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Act by establishing civil penalties for individuals under 21 who use false identification for the purpose of purchasing or consuming alcoholic beverages; requiring as identification the use of an official identification issued by an agency of government containing at a minimum, the name, date of birth, signature, and photograph of the bearer; authorizing the Metropolitan Police to seize the suspected false identification for purposes of evidence in potential court proceedings; and, directing the District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to promulgate appropriate regulations to implement and administer this legislation.
RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this resolution may be cited as the "Underage Drinking Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2000".
Sec. 3. (a) Underage drinking continues to be perceived as a major public policy issue because of its impact on the nation's youth, and because it puts all citizens at risk due to alcohol-related accidents and violence. State and local governments, businesses, community leaders, student groups and families are working together to address this problem.
(b) The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) reported in 1996 that there were nearly 100,000 youth under age 21 attending area universities (1 1), colleges (6) and community colleges (3) across the Washington Metropolitan Region. On these campuses and among the students at these schools, (as described in the D.C. Grants and Management application to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, The Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking in the District of Columbia (PROUD)), there are numerous violations on university campuses despite policies prohibiting alcohol consumption by minors. Minors frequent establishments that sell alcohol including restaurants, "Mom and Pop" grocery stores, corner liquor stores and nightclubs.
(c) The Georgetown neighborhood located in the Second Police District has one of the largest concentrations of establishments that serve alcohol. The nearby college campuses of Georgetown, George Washington, and American University as well as the University of the District of Columbia combine to produce the largest student populations within any police district. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Alcohol Beverage Control Division (ABC) reports that the greatest number of violations involving the sale of alcohol to minors, possession of fraudulent identification cards and possession of alcohol by minors is within the Second Police District.
(d) With the approach of summer, the recent tragic publicity surrounding the death of a Georgetown University student involved in an alcohol related incident, the concern and attention of local and Federal officials to the issue of underage drinking, and the experience of last summer's campaign by the District's Police Department and the ABC Division to force compliance with current underage consumption laws through highly controversial and questionable sting operations, it is clear that other, more constructive and productive strategies are required to address the underage issue.
(e) Currently the burden for enforcement of laws concerning underage drinking lies primarily with the ABC licensee. The youthful offender bares little or no consequence for either attempting to purchase alcohol with a false identification, or for consuming it. The current fine is $50. Thus, there is no real disincentive for individuals under 21 to purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages, especially through the use of false identifications.
(f) The proposed emergency legislation would correct that imbalance in the current law. It would shift more of the burden to the individual attempting to break the law, away from the licensee who risks threats to their life and property if they refuse to sell to someone attempting to illegally purchase alcoholic beverages with or without a false identification.
(g) The proposal amends Section 25-130 of the District of Columbia Code to establish a civil infraction for individuals under 21 to use of a false identification for the purpose of purchasing alcoholic beverages. Under this measure, individuals would be required to present at least one forms of identification, which shall be an official identification issued by an agency of government containing at a minimum, the name, date of birth, signature, and photograph of the bearer. Further, an individual suspected, arrested and convicted of holding or using a false identification for the purposes of entering a licensed establishment or consuming alcoholic beverages would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $300 for the first offense and multiples of that amount for subsequent offenses. Additionally, the Police would be authorized to seize the suspected false identification and hold it as evidence in case of potential court proceedings.
(h) This legislation is fashioned after provisions in the law in neighboring jurisdictions of Arlington County, Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland.
Sec. 3. The Council of the District of Columbia determines that the circumstances enumerated in section 2 constitute emergency circumstances making it necessary that the Underage Drinking Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 be adopted after a single reading.
Sec. 4. This resolution shall take effect immediately.
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