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Democrats Tackle Binge Drinking Problems

By: KKTV 11 News
By: KKTV 11 News

Alcohol poisoning has killed at least 4 college or high school students in Colorado in the last few months. Now some lawmakers say it is their responsibility to take action.

Democrats say they'll work to pass as many as 6 new bills during the legislative session. They deal with everything from cracking down on adults supplying alcohol to minors, to a “safe haven” law so kids won't be afraid to call 911.

This fall may unfortunately be remembered as the fatal fall of 2004. Samantha Spadey, Lynn Gordon Bailey, Nick Trout, Joe Osborne---all young and all dead after drinking killed them.

El Paso County Representative Michael Merrifield plans to sponsor several bills. One would increased the penalty for supplying alcohol to minors to jail time from 3 to 12 months to 6 to 18 months and boost the fines to $5,000.

Representative Angie Paccione of Fort Collins is also proposing a “Safe Haven” clause---giving some immunity to whoever calls 911 for help. "We don't want anyone to die because someone was afraid to call 911," says Paccione.

Another proposal would give college town governments more control when issuing liquor licenses, or requiring liquor stores to tag kegs so they can follow where they go. Lawmakers are also considering making the penalties stiffer for possession of alcohol or a fake ID by a minor.

They say they are trying to use laws to make it tougher for these tragedies to happen. "We can't by ourselves under this dome, change the culture on a college campus. We can try and help them by doing things lawmakers do," says Merrifield.

Republicans say they haven't seen the proposed bills yet, but they do support the ideas. Democrats think it won't be hard to pass at least some of them in the upcoming session, which begins next month.


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