Underage Drinking Bill Jumps Monumental Hurdle
Today, Assembly Member Jim Beall, Jr.'s (D - San Jose) Bill (AB) 346 passed the Assembly Floor with tremendous bi-partisan support on a 62-14 vote and is now headed for the Senate. The bill, the first of it's kind in over a decade to jump the hurdles presented by the powerful Governmenal Organization Committe, targets the Alcopops problem that is plaguing teens throughout the Golden State.
"Thanks to the dilligent hard work of both the Girl Scouts of America and California's Faith Based Community we achieved this historic victory," said Beall. "We can't let up now, as we still have to convince the Senate to pass the bill before we can ask the Governor for his signature."
Alcopops are drinks like Spykes, Rockstar 21, Liquid Charge, Seagram's Calypso Coolers, Mike's Hard Lemonade, Smirnoff Ice, and Zima, that are marketed like soda and energy drinks, and have become very appealing to underage drinkers. These drinks contain hard liquor instead of malt products and are taxed at the level of beer and not distilled spirits.
"Product labeling and packaging makes it nearly impossible to determine whether these products contain alcohol, and if they do, you can't tell their alcohol content," explained Assembly Member Beall. "My bill will help reduce underage drinking by reforming the marketing of these products, specifically marketing to youth, and the passage of the bill would not have been possible without the assistance of Assembly Member Torrico, Chair of the G.O. Committee."
This innovative bill requires the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control to draft regulations requiring that any beverage sold within California that is represented to be beer or a malt beverage, to bear a prominent, distinctive, and uniform label describing the alcohol content of the product and the phrase "Attention: Contains Alcohol."
“I am very happy to say that after over a decade of efforts to get legislation that addresses the scourge of alcopops out of either house of the legislature we’ve finally been successful,” stated Jim Beall, Jr.