Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
January 11, 2006
Senator Jeff Rabon
Senate Passes Underage Drinking Bill
Legislation designed to curb underage drinking took
another important step Tuesday, passing the Senate by a vote of
45-1. House Bill 3056 by Sen. Jeff
Rabon, D-Hugo, and Rep. Thad
Balkman, R-Norman, creates the Prevention of Youth to Access
to Alcohol (3.2 beer) Act.
The measure would strengthen statutes relating to underage drinking,
mandating stronger penalties and fines for those who provide alcohol
to minors. Increased revenue produced by higher fines would provide
additional funding for law enforcement agencies to combat issues
related to underage drinking, including drunk driving.
“In 2003, 2,300 Oklahomans under the age of 21 were arrested
for DUI, with people under the age of 18 accounting for nearly 1100
of those arrests,” said Rabon. “In 2004, 15 percent
of alcohol related crashes in Oklahoma were caused by drivers under
the age of 21. When you look at the data, it’s clear we’re
behind in terms of preventing the sale of alcohol to minors and
this bill goes a long way toward fixing that problem”.
Under the Act, a minor’s first offense would merit a fine
of up to $300 and/or 30 hours of community service. A second offense
would result in the suspension of the minor’s driver’s
license for six months, in addition to 60 hours of community service
or both and a one year driver’s license suspension.
Rabon said the provisions related to driver’s license suspension
came at the request of Oklahoma students and minors participating
in a legislative task force last year to prevent youth access to
“As we conducted our legislative task force and interim
studies on this issue, it was the students that suggested driver’s
license suspensions as the most effective deterrent to the problem
and the best way to make an impression on minors,” Rabon noted.
Rep. Balkman praised the Senate’s passage of the measure,
calling it a positive step toward curbing a major problem among
"I'm thrilled House Bill 3056 has taken its final step through
the legislative process and am confident Governor Henry will sign
it," Balkman said. "This bill is the culmination of more
than a year-and-a-half of hard work to address this important issue."
According to a survey from the Oklahoma Prevention Policy Alliance,
approximately 65 percent of Oklahoma youth said it is very easy
to purchase beer, leading lawmakers to craft a bill specifically
tailored to reducing underage access to low point beer.
“We know that beer is the drink of choice for kids and, unfortunately,
beer is all too readily available to minors,” added Balkman.
“This bill provides a strong deterrent to those who break
the law and serve beer”.
Yukon High School senior Kristin Nailer, part of a group of high
school students lobbying in favor of the measure, expressed her
gratitude for the Senate vote. “It's been a challenge to get
this bill passed. I know it's going to help a lot of kids down the
road. This is so exciting,” she said.
HB 3056 will now return to the House of Representatives for consideration
by the full body.
For more information contact:
Senate Rabon's Office - (405) 521-5614