Lawmakers still at odds over alcohol ID age requirement

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Indiana legislators disagree about how to revise a much-ridiculed law requiring store clerks to check the identification of all carry-out alcohol customers regardless of their age.

The House voted 81-11 on Thursday to approve a bill that would no longer require store clerks to card customers who appear older than 40. But the Senate is considering a proposal that would set that carding provision at 50.

The proposals would revise a law that took effect last summer and immediately generated complaints from senior citizens and others who said it made no sense.

Democratic Rep. Matt Pierce said that even with Indiana University's main campus in his hometown of Bloomington, he's had no complaints from 21-year-olds about having to show IDs to buy alcohol.

"I've heard from every 85-year-old wine drinker in my district asking, 'Why are you doing this to me?'" Pierce said.

Sen. James Merritt, R-Indianapolis, said he sponsored a Senate committee amendment this week making the carding age 50 after hearing concerns that the age difference between 21 and 40 wasn't broad enough.

"I picked 50 because I think it's reasonable to think that someone that is 50 years old doesn't look 21, more so than 40 and 21," he said.

Bill sponsor Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Danville, said he prefer keeping the provision for carding at 40, but would discuss it more with Merritt and others. He and Merritt said they were confident of the current law being revised.

"I'm just trying to put some commonsense into this thing," Steuerwald said. "I want to keep alcohol away from minors but there's no reason why senior citizens have to be carded."

Liquor store owners have supported the stricter ID law, saying it wasn't that inconvenient and that it had led to a drastic drop in attempts by minors to buy alcohol because they know clerks have to card all customers.

Steuerwald said nothing in the proposed changes would prevent a retailer from having employees ask all customers for identification.

"If that's their policy, that's acceptable," he said.

Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, criticized the proposed change, saying he didn't know how a clerk could be held responsible for how old they thought a customer looked.

"I understand why people are upset with the current law," DeLaney said. "But it is real simple."


  • addendum
    I watched a WWII vet get carded. This law is just not sensible. I know state congress folks have voluminous amounts of reading but it bothers me that no one caught the fine print on this. A server told me that tips are lower, in his opinion, because of the psychological impact. You may not agree with it but we women of a certain age do not like busy bodies looking at our DOB's. The implications were not thought out by our politicans.
  • over age
    It does not sit well with older people, including myself, because the wait staff either makes condescending comment which they think is a joke but does not come across or tries to get into a control demeanor. Most wait staff have lack of knowledge as to the over age & still wish to power card everyone. I look 60 & frankly the law is absurd; no one would ever see me as under 21.
    • Come On
      Leave it as it is. If you drove yourself to the liquor store you "should" have your ID with you anyway.
    • Are you for real?
      Hey DRINKER... Were you home schooled? Did it ever occur to you that there is a difference between a Voting Election Commission wanting to verify citizenship (which cannot be done by "apparent age assessments")and actually needing to verify age (which can ONLY be done through proper and legal identification documents)? Probably not because as the democrats proved in the elction of 2008, they see no reason that an individual needs to be a citizen to be afforded the right to vote. Heck, in some cases, they see no reason that one must even be living to be able to vote! There is no hypocricy here whatsoever but, typically, ignorance manifests itself in the libs. You really sounded uneducated so please, think before you write.

      BEN - You alone have addressed the correct issue! Dump the Sunday Blue Laws!
    • Hypocritical
      Republicans sure had no problem requiring those 50 and up to show a valid state issued ID in order to be able to VOTE!
      • Why...
        ...is this even an issue? I wonder if the same people who are saying "I shouldn't have to be ID'd" are the same as those who want stronger immigration laws allowing others to be ID'd.

        This is a non-issue, and yet everyone's so upset about it.
      • RE: Ben
        Amen brother....
      • Consistent
        To be consistent, this should apply to restaurants and bars as well.
      • Grumpy Old Men and Women
        You need to card everyone, period. This all started because a bunch of grumpy old people think they are too important to be "inconvenienced", including one old dame in the state legislature. Clerks that sell this stuff make 9-10 bucks an hour, or less. Too many of them sold alcohol to minors, willingly or ignorantly, and that is a problem in our society like it or not (the younger you are when you start drinking regularly, the more likely you are to be an alcoholic, and the more likely you are to commit a tragic mistake while under the influence - nothing more volatile that a drunk 16-17 year old behind the wheel of a car..we have enough problems with people twice that age) ...you are now going to take the same people who before the law wouldn't card a lot of young people and then said "he looks a lot older than 21 to me" when they got caught, and you are going to put discretion back into the equation, only now it is don't card them if they "look 40", or "50"? Just plain dumb. You don't leave the discretion to the Clerk, they need to card everyone. You take the onus off of the employee...it needs to be part of their job to card everyone. You don't have a god given right to get plowed. This is a real problem, and the statistics show that this law has helped slow sales of alcohol to minors. People that don't like the law can just not buy alcohol if they don't like it. Glad to show my ID every time, and to all that complain about it, you need to get over yourself. The minors that want to drink badly enough will figure out a way...but responsible adults don't make it easier for them.
        • This is a No Brainer
          Liquor stores, grocery stores, and drug stores all like the current law that requires their clerks to card everybody, because it takes the heat off their employees. Nobody gets out without showing ID. Why would we change a good law that keeps kids from buying booze? Hey! If you want to buy alcohol, you have to show ID, no matter how old you are. So be prepared, and get out your ID.
        • You've got to be kidding me!
          And why are we talking about this?
        • ID me all you want...
          I just want to buy a cold beer at the grocery store on Sunday afternoon....Indiana is all backwards.

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