Bill would lower legal drinking age for Louisianans who earn certificate

    For decades, sneaking into bars with fake IDs has been a right of passage for college students in Louisiana. But if Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, has his way, they may no longer need to rely on deceptive methods to get alcohol.

    As the LSU Manship School News Service reports, LaFleur’s proposed Senate Bill 429 would make it legal for 19- and 20-year-olds to buy and consume alcohol if they obtain a certificate.

    “I really believe that 18-year-olds should be able to drink,” LaFleur says. “It just doesn’t make any sense for people to be going to bars and getting drinks from older guys and having to patrol and regulate that. It just doesn’t work, and everyone knows it doesn’t work. So why do we bury our head in the sand and say it works?”

    LaFleur’s bill was scheduled to be heard Tuesday at a hearing Senate Judiciary B Committee, but he deferred consideration of it until next week before it came up for discussion. His bill would create a certificate, called the Louisiana Alcohol Consumption Certificate, and would require alcohol education course in hopes of curbing abuse among recipients.

    The course would cover health risks, absorption rates and laws and penalties regarding alcohol consumption. He said the course would not cost more than $100.

    LaFleur’s proposal comes at a time when college administrators and many lawmakers are heading in the opposite direction, trying to curb college drinking after the hazing death last September of an LSU fraternity pledge who was forced to drink more than six times the legal alcohol limit.

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